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May 26, 2011

WikiLeaks proves Zardari, Patterson wrong, Nawaz right


May 26, 2011

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday March 17, 2009, the Washington Post wrote that “the government on Monday agreed to reinstate Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, after it was unable to quell protests by political, legal and civic activists demanding his restoration”. The article clearly stated that “The current civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari had pledged to reinstate Chaudhry and other deposed judges last year, but resisted doing so until the nationwide demonstrations finally forced Zardari to back down”.
Quaid PML-N Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif reiterated publicly their party position on the critical issue of the restoration of judiciary. This included an oath taking ceremony before the 2008 election, during which all PML-N leaders and ticket holders pledged to work for the restoration of an independent judiciary.
The Sharifs stood tall and delivered on the PML-N principled stand when, manifesting their unfaltering conviction to democracy, the people of Pakistan and to an independent judiciary, on March 16, 2009 Nawaz Sharif walked-the-talk by leading the long march, and forced the PPP government to restore the judiciary.
That is exactly what PML-N did again more recently when, standing for the people and sovereignty of Pakistan, they forced the government to pass a unanimous resolution that “reaffirmed the resolve of the people and Government of Pakistan to uphold Pakistan’s sovereignty and national security, which is a sacred duty, at all costs” and condemned the US unilateral action in Abbottabad on May 2, as constituting “a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty”.
Let us walk through some of the events of recent happenings before our very own eyes rather than drifting to the selective memory recall of not-so-reputable individuals with a grand design to malign or blackmail!
Since the historic day of March 16, 2009, President Zardari, Prime Minister

Gilani and their cronies have repeatedly claimed credit for restoring pre- November 3, 2007 judiciary. Not to be left behind, their cronies continue to repeat false claims of having been responsible for restoring the judiciary so many times now that they have come to believe it themselves.
In cognitive psychology paradigm, they are suffering selective memory recall and state change associated with confirmation bias. Explanations for this bias include wishful thinking and pragmatically assessing the costs of being wrong. Confirmation biases confines the mind to overconfidence or affection in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Hence, confirmation biases often lead to disastrous decisions, especially in organisational, military and political contexts as we have witnessed repeatedly during the tenure of the current PPP-P government. But they ignored that:
a) In May 2008, the PML-N ministers opted to resign from the PPP-led coalition cabinet after its leadership failed to honour repeated public commitments, both written and oral sworn on the Holy Quran, for restoration of the deposed judges, in line with their pre-election 2008 pledge;
b) The PPP leadership had vested interest in continued presence of Dogar courts installed after November 3, 2007 PCO as an integral component of the NRO based political edifice;
c) To extend the NRO coalition government in Punjab as well, the PCO courts were later used to manipulate disqualification of PML-N leadership to pave the way for Governor Raj in Punjab;
d) The PPP in cahoot with PML-Q, once again did its level best to purchase loyalties of the Punjab legislators to install NRO group at the helm, but failed once again.
Such people also conveniently forget how members of the bar associations and political parties, led by Quaid PML-N, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, braved the threat of arrest and bombs to lead the long march that compelled PPP to restore the judiciary through an executive order. It would indeed be a cruel joke with living history to ignore the sacrifices of millions of ordinary men, women and children who swamped all roads between Lahore and Gujranwala in their determined march towards Islamabad, called off only after “President Zardari finally capitulated” under the meandering current of the people. Prime Minister Gilani too was forced to “announce to the nation in a 6am televised address that Chief Justice Chaudhry and the other judges would be reinstated” to their rightful places.
According to the Washington Post, “In political terms, the winner of the showdown was former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a longtime rival of Zardari’s who championed the lawyers’ cause” and “emerged as a national hero this week”. According to Quaid PML-N Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the winner of the showdown was the suffering people of Pakistan who had removed Dogar, a former crony and junior lawyer from the chamber of CM Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, heading the rubber stamp PCO Supreme Court.
Only cynics who have become embalmed in their own cynicism and detached from all norms of reality and even refer to those who fought for an independent judiciary as “naive supporters” would believe what likes of Brian Hunt, a small pawn in the NRO architect would like to report.
To suggest that the Sharifs decided to give all out support to the lawyers movement for restoration of deposed judges following the February 25, 2009 decision of the Dogar Supreme Court, published in US print media by President Zardari before the actual judgement, in which they were declared ineligible to hold office, is factual distortion and an insult to the living memories of the millions who participated in that historic long march to success.
The Sharifs’ uncompromising and principled stand for an independent judiciary was well established before the 2008 polls; it was certainly not triggered by the Dogar court verdict against them. Interestingly, neither before nor after the restoration of an independent judiciary, PML-N did contemplate or take a single action that would corroborate the opinionated contents of WikiLeaks cables intended to malign PML-N, the party that thwarted the NRO collaborators plan to mortgage Pakistan’s future.
Sharif’s disqualification was just another gimmick of the PPP and its patrons and partners to exclude PML-N role from seeking fulfilment of its pledge to the people of Pakistan for restoration of an independent judiciary. This was also confirmed by a March 3, 2009 US embassy cable from Ambassador Anne Patterson in following terms: “Turmoil following the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify from public office Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, political rivals of President Asif Zardari. Zardari engineered the Sharifs’ disqualification and followed that with placing his party’s governor in power in the Punjab provincial government to replace Shahbaz Sharif.”
According to yet another leaked US embassy cable, the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, called on Nawaz Sharif on January 31, 2008 and “strongly opposed the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry”. But the Sharifs stuck to their principled stance and “insisted that without restoring the chief justice, there was no point to filling other slots on the bench.
Ambassador disagreed, noting that many of the provincial judges could be restored for the benefit of Pakistan’s judiciary”. It was obvious that like Musharraf and Zardari, Anne Patterson strongly opposed the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, in her meetings with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani. Their delaying tactics and repeated broken promises to restore the judiciary till they finally capitulated and buckled at the knees in front of US ambassador Anne Patterson reflects the same mindset that was recently repeated in the presence of US Senator John Kerry after the Abbottabad outrage.
Anusha Rehman Khan, (Advocate) is a PML-N MNA.

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