Daily Archives: June 12, 2008

Aitzaz should stop running with the hare and hunting with the hound

Posted by Raza Rumi

The [restricted] image above from Reuters shows Mr Aitzaz Ahsan offering prayers at Benazir Bhutto’s grave in Garhi Khuda Bux. Ironical that the same follower recently, albeit allegedly, termed his leader as corrupt. Of course, he denied it later in clear terms. This self contained editorial from the Daily Times spells out some of the dilemmas faced by our charismatic Ahsan:

The lawyers’ movement has rejected the constitutional package presented by the Pakistan People’s Party. If positions on both sides remain deterministic, we can now be sure that the movement will stay on a collision course with the current PPP government. Siding with the lawyers movement is the PMLN. It has already pulled out of the cabinet and might pull out of the coalition if it stays the current course of pressing for the restoration of judges upfront and without reference to any constitutional package. Given this perspective, we might be in for a spell of agitation politics.

However, while the lawyers movement has rejected the PPP’s position on how the judges restoration is to be achieved and the fate of President Pervez Musharraf, the most prominent leader of the movement, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, is caught on the horns of a dilemma. He wants to continue affiliating with the PPP even as he is turning the lawyers movement against the party. His problem originates in his earlier decision to spurn the “deal” that the PPP leader Benazir Bhutto clinched with President Pervez Musharraf before her assassination, including her decision to contest the elections. He should have realised then that he couldn’t sail in two boats at the same time for long but he didn’t. That has made his position untenable by the day. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

The myriad voices of Pakistan

Raza Rumi at Global Voices

Pakistan’s growing blogosphere presents a kaleidoscope of the complex, contradictory developments within the country. The country is in the grip of a major movement for upholding the rule of law. Some say it is the finest moment in our history while others term it as yet another agent of instability. Thousands of lawyers and political activists have commenced a long march to Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, to pressurize the parliament and the government to restore the judges dismissed by now ubiquitous and beleaguered President Musharraf. We take our great neighbour China’s history and Chairman Mao, quite seriously.

Pak Spectator  welcomes the long march with these words:

Gallant lawyers from all over the Pakistan have started their Long March towards the Islamabad where a dictator lives who tried to demolish the country’s justice system to appease his vested interest to stick to the power forever. These lawyers are upholding the flags of supremacy of law and the upper hand of constitution with full liberty to the judges of higher and lower judiciary.

In a similar vein, cyrilalmeida.com moans the skepticism about the lawyers’ long march:

What a wretched country this is. The march should have given goose bumps to every person with an iota of romance. Instead, it has raised the hairs on the back of the neck for the many who fear what confrontation will bring. Not for decades have ugly reality and dreaminess collided so forcefully. The sceptics believe they are on the right side of history. But there is no joy in parting with the lawyers. Unfortunately, there are no Hollywood endings in Pakistan, only bitter truths.

An alternative view, again at Pak Spectator urges that legal matters cannot be brought to the streets:

Court business is conducted in Courts only. Staging of a protest or arranging a Long March on any pretext by a bunch of lawyers out side of the courts, in order to pressurise and influence the Parliament to give a favourable verdict is sure absurdity because; Munsib ka Mut-manni khaiz hota hey! If at all there is a need to do some March; that is an inward cleansing March; a March toward lower and High courts system; where Justice is a far cry and common man experience; corruption, corruption and corruption of Judges only. Long March; it is more of a Leisure Ride.

Putting the recent stage in the lawyers’ movement in a political economy context by arguing that the real agenda of the Long March appears to be frustrating the newly elected government of the slain Bhutto’s party. This is what Haq’s Musings has to say:

So why are the judges and the lawyers being elevated to such high stature by the “civil society” … and their media and politician cheerleaders? The answer probably lies in their obsessive need for vengeance against Musharraf by the PML(N), the lawyers and the journalists. Continue reading


Filed under Blogging, Blogroll, Citizens, Democracy, Pakistan, Politics, Society, Writers

A Parliament of Owls

A murder of crows. An exaltation of larks. A parliament of owls.

The English language is a commodious beast, packed with all sorts of strange words gathered from all corners of the earth. Take, for example, the multitude of terms available to describe more than one bird of a particular type. Some of them are noted above. But we also have a charm of finches, a deceit of lapwings, a lamentation of swans, a pitying of turtledoves, and my personal favourite, a murmuration of starlings.

Coming back to owls and parliaments, the term parliament comes from the French “parler”, which is the verb, to speak. Parliament is therefore a discussion or where one goes to speak. More specifically, since the Oxford Parliament of 1256, it has been the name given in England to that great institution of state which guides and counsels the sovereign in the exercise of power.

Parliament, then, represents the collective wisdom of the people. And since owls in western culture have long since been venerated as symbols of learning and wisdom — owls being the symbol for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom — the term “Parliament of Owls” flatters both Parliament and owls. Tellingly, the other phrase for a group of owls is a “wisdom of owls”. Continue reading

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Filed under Democracy