Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pakistan Govt agrees to reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry

Monday, 16 Mar, 2009 | 05:32 AM PST |
ISLAMABAD: In a dramatic development in the wee hours of the morning, the government agreed to restore the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry who, along with nearly fifty judges, was unceremoniously sacked by the then President and army chief General Musharraf almost two years ago.
The Prime Minister in his early morning address to the nation said that all sacked judges will be restored in accordance with the promise of Late Benazir Bhutto. He said that the hindrance in the way of restoring Iftikhar was that the office of the Chief Justice was occupied but now that the sitting Chief Justice (Dogar) was about to retire, therefore, it was now the right time to reinstate Iftikhar. Provincial governments were told to lift section 144 and release detained political workers.
PM Gilani called for dignified celebrations and congratulated the lawyers, political parties, civil society, army and the nation at large. Iftikhar Chaudhry is set to take charge of office on 21 March, 2009.
The move came as tens of thousands of opposition supporters joined the lawyers Long March in Lahore and started to move towards Islamabad to stage a sit-in outside the parliament. As the electrifying events in Lahore started to give dangerous signals of a near revolt, top military and civilian leaders went into a long session of discussion to defuse the situation.
Even when the formal announcement was delayed by a few hours, as details and finer points were being discussed, leader of the opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told media that Prime Minister Gilani has informed them that the government was restoring the deposed chief justice.
Highly placed sources said that the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani frankly told both President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that they need to undo some of controversial decisions before the situation spirals out of control. These sources said it was after his not-so-veiled warning that the two top civilian leaders agreed to roll-back some of the controversial decisions of the previous and present governments, including the sacking of the chief justice of Pakistan.
These sources said that soon after meeting the army chief, the president and prime minister went into yet another session of their own to discuss the modalities for making the announcement. By this time reports had already started to come in that the procession heading towards Islamabad was constantly pulling more and more people.
It was then decided that Premier Gilani should give a televised speech in the morning and make the major announcements. As the state-run PTV made the announcement of Prime Minister’s speech later in the night, celebrations started in the lawyers and opposition parties’ camp. Scores of people thronged the residence of the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, raising slogans in support of the judiciary and declaring it a historic victory. The deposed CJ’s spokesperson Ather Minallah called it a good omen, and said though belated, the right move has been made to save the country from further chaos and anarchy.
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was first suspended by Musharaf in early 2007 for his alleged role in destabilising the government by blocking some of the major decisions, particularly the privatisation of Pakistan Steel. Many people also believed that his dismissal was also linked to his keen interest in pressurising the government and intelligence agencies to find scores of people who had gone missing, and many of whom were believed to be in the custody of the security agencies.
Sources said that the move to restore Iftikhar Chaudhry may see the restoration of PML-N’s government in Punjab and possibly even removal of Governor Salman Taseer.
Observers say that these dramatic developments may go a long way in strengthening democracy, even if they have arrived under pressure from the security establishment and outside forces, particularly the United States.

The text of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s Address To The Nation

My dear countrymen Assalam-o-Alaikum,

I am speaking to you at a time when our country is standing at a critical moment. No country can make progress without political tolerance and the PPP and lawyers have been together in struggle for upholding democracy in Pakistan. Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto actively participated in the struggle of restoration of judiciary was launched by lawyers. Benazir Bhutto wanted free judiciary and supremacy of the constitution.

The lawyers’ movement for restoring of judges was their democratic right. The PPP was shoulder to shoulder with the lawyers in the cause for the independent judiciary.

The slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto also wanted to reinstate the deposed chief justice.

I have taken all his coalition partners and the President into confidence about the reinstatement of the deposed chief justice once the current chief justice retires on March 21.

The deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will assume charges on March 21.

Benazir Bhutto wanted free judiciary and supremacy of the constitution.

After consultations with all political forces of the country and President Asif Ali Zardari, we have decided to restore all deposed judges including Iftikahr Muhammad Chaudhry as Chief Jsutice of Pakistan who will assume charge on March 21. The current Chef Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar retires on March 21. I urge all the political forces and lawyers to work for the solidarity and welfare of the country.

Pakistan Paindabad.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry restored as Chief Justice of Pakistan

updated at: 0550 PST, Monday, March 16, 2009
ISLAMABAD: In a historic address to the nation, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani announced on Monday to restore the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.The prime minister also pledged that the government would steer the country out of the numerous domestic and international challenges facing it.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to be restored as Chief Justice of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: In a golden moment in Pakistan’s history, the government has decided to restore the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
The Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar told Geo news about the decision of Justice Iftikhar’s reinstatement. He told Geo news senior Analyst Kamran Khan that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had personally told him about Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s reinstatement.
Chaudhry Nisar said the PM would reinstate the deposed chief justice through an executive order.


A former official of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif met Osama Bin Laden and received funds from him.
“Nawaz Sharif met Osama Bin Laden on at least three occasions and was desperately seeking his financial assistance,” Khalid Khawaja told news website Adnkronos International (AKI) in an interview on Sunday.
Khawaja, a retired officer of the Pakistan Air Force who was in the ISI in the late 80s, rejected a recent denial by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that its leader had sought political cooperation from Bin Laden in the last. “Osama is above all this politicking,” said Khawaja.
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal President Qazi Hussain Ahmed had said in a recent interview that Sharif had repeatedly met Bin Laden, who had offered him money to topple the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in 1990.

Khawaja, who developed a friendship with Bin Laden while fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 80s, told AKI that the Al Qaeda head wanted the “secular” PPP government overthrown to ensure that Pakistan continued supporting the Afghan “jihad”. Khawaja said that Bin Laden gave him funds which he personally delivered to Sharif, AKI reported. “Sharif insisted that I arrange a direct meeting with the ‘sheikh’, which I did in Saudi Arabia. Nawaz met Osama thrice in Saudi Arabia,” Khawaja said.

He said that the most “historic” meeting between the two men was held at the Green Palace Hotel in Madina. “Osama asked Nawaz to devote himself to ‘jihad in Kashmir’. Nawaz immediately said: ‘I love jihad.’ Osama smiled, and … said. ‘Yes, you may love jihad, but your love for jihad is this much,’ pointing to a small portion of a nearby pillar. ‘Your love for your children is this much,’ he said, pointing to a larger portion of the pillar. ‘And your love for your parents is this much,’ he continued, pointing towards the largest portion.

Khawaja said that such arguments were “beyond the comprehension” of Sharif, who kept asking “Manya key nai manya? (Has he agreed or not?)”.

The former premier was hoping for a grant of Rs 500 million. Although Bin Laden gave a smaller amount, Khawaja said that he arranged for Sharif to meet the Saudi royal family, which pledged political support for him and kept its word until he was dislodged by President Pervez Musharraf in 1999, AKI reported. In fact, it was the royal family that secured Sharif’s pardon and exile to Saudi Arabia.
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed has revealed that Osama bin Laden had offered to buy loyalties of legislators to see Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister.
In an interview with daily Jang’s Sunday Magazine, Qazi said that Bin Laden visited Mansoora and was willing to buy parliamentarians’ loyalties to ensure Nawaz Sharif’s election as prime minister. Bin Laden said that if there was a way to buy votes, he was willing to pay for them, Qazi said. “He was a big supporter of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad and Nawaz Sharif,” he said. The JI chief said that he met Bin Laden several times, adding that he (Osama) visited the JI headquarters in Mansoora. Qazi said that bin Laden was also interested in a deal with the JI, which he (Qazi) declined. He said that a delegation sent by Bin Laden visited Peshawar to meet him (Qazi), adding that they wanted co-operation from the JI, but we declined the request. “We refused on the grounds that we could not make any agreement with someone who did not have a homeland and who was himself unsafe in Afghanistan.

Nawaz Sharif's corruption Exposed

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to be restored as Chief Justice of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: In a golden moment in Pakistan’s history, the government has decided to restore the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
The Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar told Geo news about the decision of Justice Iftikhar’s reinstatement. He told Geo news senior Analyst Kamran Khan that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had personally told him about Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s reinstatement.
Chaudhry Nisar said the PM would reinstate the deposed chief justice through an executive order.

Pakistani chief justice sacked by Musharraf to return

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Responding to days of massive protests demanding that Pakistan's government reinstate judges sacked by the previous president, the government through executive order will restore the seat of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a spokesman for the prime minister said early Monday.

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani planned to make the announcement in a speech at some point Monday, the spokesman told CNN.

Hundreds of lawyers held protests over the past week between Karachi and Islamabad, demanding that President Asif Ali Zardari live up to a promise to reinstate judges, including Chaudhry, dismissed by then-President Pervez Musharraf.

The protests are part of a "Long March," which demonstrators had planned to cap with a sprawling sit-in at the parliament building in Islamabad on Monday.

After sweeping into power in parliamentary elections last year, Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party promised to reinstate the judges within 30 days of taking office. The deadline came and went.

The government responded to the recent intensification of protests by banning political demonstrations in two of the country's biggest provinces, Punjab and Sindh. It also detained several hundred activists Wednesday, but protesters have said they will not be deterred.

Police in Pakistan have fought running battles with stone-throwing protesters who defied a government ban on rallies and congregated in large numbers in Lahore.

The procession had been relatively peaceful until it reached Lahore in the Punjab province, the home base of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

There, the crowd was incited by conflicting reports that authorities had detained Sharif to prevent him from leading the rally toward Islamabad.

Officers in riot gear fired tear gas at the demonstrators near the Lahore Supreme Court. As soon as the sting from the gas wore off, the protesters regrouped, only to be chased away by police wielding batons.

Authorities made several arrests. Ambulances were seen at the location.

Soon afterward, Sharif emerged from his residence and told reporters he had been placed on house arrest but that he refused to abide by it.

"This house arrest they have put me under, this detention, we don't accept this detention," he said. "My brothers, today don't be scared, don't be nervous. These obstacles are temporary. ... These must be brought down. Only by bringing these down can we reach our destination."

Throughout the day, the opposition and the government went back and forth with claims and denials about Sharif's apparent detention.

First, the party's acting President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said Sharif was ordered confined to his residence for three days. The police detention order was meant to preserve law and order ahead of the march to the capital, Hashmi said.

Then, Pakistan's Information Minister Qamar Zaman denied Sharif had been placed under house arrest.

And the government of Punjab said police presence outside Sharif's house was part of security measures the government has taken to ensure a peaceful march.

Several hours later, party spokesman Siddique-ul-Farooq said police had tried to serve detention orders but no one from the party received them.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Sharif on Saturday, as well as Zardari, a senior administration official said. The official would not provide details, but a statement issued by Zardari's office said Clinton expressed continued U.S. support for his government and said the United States wants to see a stable, democratic system strengthen in the country.

Although a U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan spoke to Zardari last week, Clinton's phone call is the highest level of U.S. intervention since the judiciary crisis began, and is seen as illustrating deep U.S. concern over stability within Pakistan.

The political turmoil in Pakistan comes just a year after the country celebrated a return to democracy. It has forced the government's attention away from a deadly fundamentalist insurgency in its tribal areas and an economy that's on the verge of collapse.

Afghan attack kills US soldiers

A roadside bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan has killed four US soldiers, the Nato-led Isaf peacekeeping force has confirmed.

Taleban insurgents reportedly claimed responsibility for the explosion which killed the servicemen in the province of Nangarhar.

Reports suggest that the bomb went off as a convoy was passing.

More than 60 foreign soldiers have been killed in the country this year, many of the losses claimed by the Taleban.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says that in the face of the worsening security situation, the US is set to deploy thousands of additional troops in an effort to bring greater stability.

Supply base hit

A separate attack on a Nato patrol in Kabul killed two bystanders on Sunday.

The suicide bombing injured 14 civilians; no foreign troops were wounded or killed.

The mayor of the city of Kandahar also survived a bomb attack, which happened on his convoy; one bystander died and six others were injured.

Elsewhere, in Kandahar's Maywand district, the US military says five militants were killed in an operation involving US and Afghan troops.

Meanwhile, militants in Pakistan attacked a transport terminal used to supply Nato forces in Afghanistan, destroying about 20 lorries.

Police say the attackers used rockets and petrol bombs in the assault on the depot in the city of Peshawar.

The incidents follow the deaths of three other soldiers from the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan on Saturday.

A French soldier and five Afghan troops died during a clash with militants in Kapisa province; a British soldier was killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan; while the third Isaf soldier, whose nationality was not released, died in a traffic accident in the north of the country.

Nawaz Sharif,ALQUIDA MEMBER, defies house arrest order

LAHOR :Nawaz Sharif addressed a crowd gathered outside his home in Lahore on Sunday, defying a police order to remain inside under house arrest.
"We don't accept this decision. The house arrest is illegal and immoral. All these decisions are unconstitutional," he told the crowd in a speech broadcast live on state TV."Come and join me. I am leaving the house. The time has come to march hand in hand," Sharif said."They cannot stop the emotions of the people. People have waited for this day for a long time. They cannot stop us," he said.Police earlier put Nawaz under a three-day house arrest at his Lahore home. Under the order, he was not allowed to leave the building.An AFP reporter outside his home said a car was preparing to take him to lawyers gathering in the high court building in downtown Lahore.