Friday, December 07, 2007

Detained Pakistani Seeks to Revive Judiciary Cause

The New York Times, December 7, 2oo7

By Jane Perlez

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Dec. 6 — The leader of the lawyers’ movement here, worried that the cause of an independent judiciary is foundering as elections approach, has written to his colleagues from detention outlining a strategy to keep the flame alive.

The lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, said in a long letter published Wednesday in the major newspapers that if the political parties take part in the January parliamentary elections, then the lawyers must persuade candidates to sign an oath pledging to restore the judiciary. The lawyers’ movement, which coalesced around the dismissal of the chief justice of the Supreme Court last March, is a driving force of the opposition.

Such an oath will keep the focus on the Supreme Court justices and other high court judges who were fired on Nov. 3 by Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf, Mr. Ahsan said. Otherwise, he wrote, bread-and-butter matters like roads, water, sewage and schools will overshadow the cause of the judiciary.

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