Dharna (Sit-in), Lawyers Last Democratic Weapon

The lawyers’ movement that commence with the dismissal of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhery, in 2007 is about to enter into its climax phase. P.P.P. led government has done several attempts to slow down and crush the movement, many sacked judges have taken oath with the similar seniority they had before November 3rd. Lawyers movement still well supported by the civil society of Pakistan continuing it’s path to the dream of justice and freedom.

In the leadership of Ali Ahmed Kurd, Lawyers once again decided to go for long march with the addition of Dharna (Sit-in) at the Constitutional Avenue. Long march’s Schedule has also been announced and is started from Karachi and Quetta. It will be first Long march after the forced exit of General Musharraf. Continuous breach of trust by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party Co- Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on the issue of restoration of the Chief Justice and other judges reached to its end, the picture is entirely clear that the concept of change is lacking from their intent. Dubious constitution amendment package story also reached to its end as they did not brought any package even after a year of the formation of government.

Political landscape has undergone a sharp transformation after the imposition of governor rule in Punjab. The nation is now divided between independent and pro-establishment judiciary. PML(N) has firmly passed all the litmus tests that they are with Justice. The unshakable stance of Mian Nawaz Sharif has given a speedy momentum to public and political parties for participation in Long march and Dharna. The truth is that without the support of PML(N) it would be nearly impossible to put pressure on Asif Zardari for restoration of judges.

Lawyer’s decision to go for sit-in at Constitutional Avenue is a hard job. It has been announced that sit-in will continue until unless Judges will be restored. It is clear from past experiences of last one year that Asif Zardari and P.P.P. led Government has have no intentions for the restoration of Iftikhar chaudhery and they will definitely use all means to reduce the number of participants in sit-in, sealing of Capital is already planned in this regard and government is using its security institutions for the accomplishment of its plans. If lawyers and civil society really want the moment to reach to its success then it can only be gained by a longer sit-in as they have already announced. Sit-in is the last possible democratic tool available to the lawyers and civil society.

P.P.P. should realize it now that reinstatement of few judges will not solve the issue at all; the issue is their complete autonomy and independence. Lawyer’s movement in Pakistan will definitely down in history as a great unprecedented effort by the legal profession to set the judiciary right and prevent the country’s rulers from manipulating the judges and influencing their judgments.

Schedule has been announced lawyers are ready to move, political parties are preparing for march. Civil society and public is standing with lawyers. An aggressive and independent media was previously in favor of the lawyers and gave it a great push but for the upcoming Dharna media itself is in doubt that they are at which side, One school of thought in media is saying that Dharna may lead to a military coup, but it is not going to happen because the issue of judges was commenced in the period of former chief of army staff, all what is going to happen is due to the problems created in the period of military rule so there is no option that military intervention can save Pakistan, in case even if army try to intervene situation will go worse then ever before for army itself. Now it is all up in the hands of media people that how they project Dharna and either they are with the movement for independent judiciary?

In the last year’s Long march, it was an all out anti-Musharraf consciousness expressed all the way. They all wanted Musharraf to go. This year there will be a similar scene public will be same place and lawyers will be same but the slogans will be different. Last year’s long march was a failure courtesy of some lawyers, but now the reigns of lawyers are in the hands of Ali Ahmad Kurd, He looks to be bold, fearless and true, so nothing like the last year is going to happen this time. Now it will be a different show where, thousands of youth will be raising slogans against co chairman of Pakistan people’s party and we will hear slogan’s of “Go Zardari Go”. Pakistan Peoples Party is nowhere to be seen. In case as expected if there will be thousands of peoples, it will be a tragedy for P.P.P. to bring such big opposition within a year of its government. Imagine people in thousands sitting at Constitutional Avenue, is one side of coin. On the other side of the coin, ruling party will be best served if Dharna fails and all established forces will put their best efforts to make the ruling party win.

P.P.P. should analyze the public and political Temperature and Asif Ali Zardari should go toward national consensus and reconciliation and should establish true democracy which is not possible with out independent judiciary. Justice for all has becomes a dream for peoples of Pakistan. Society without speedy justice, cannot survive for long. Only independent judiciary can make it sure that citizens get their right to be treated according to law, the right to have fair and proper trial and right to have neutral courts. Justice there fore can only be done if there is an independent judiciary.

Now it is time that masses, civil society, political parties and media people to support Dharna not only for the restoration of Judges, but also to implement the essence of trias politica and to balance government. As Dharna (Sit-in) is, Lawyers last democratic Weapon. Loosing this chance is not an option. This long march will either bring victory or utter defeat to the lawyer’s movement.