Large number of bipartisan Members of Congress, and human rights activist voiced their support for the besieged Pakistani judiciary
Washington, DC – December 5th, 2007 – An impressive number of Members of U.S. Congress and a Senator addressed a large gathering of Concerned Citizens to show their support for the restoration of pre-November 3 independent Pakistani Judiciary. In addition to the U.S. lawmakers, the representatives of Amnesty International, and International Crisis Group also spoke to a huge gathering. The large audience of Concerned Citizens included professionals, lawyers, physicians, and businessmen.
In her speech, Senator Claire Mccaskell from Missouri showed strong desire to restore the Pakistani judiciary. Senator Mccaskell showed her desire to make the U.S. Military aid to Pakistan contingent to “the rule of law.” She strongly advised the Musharraf Government to restore the judiciary, or face the military sanctions. The Senator warned, “If the judiciary is not restored, Pakistan should face the threat of military sanctions.”
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from the California accused the Musharraf Government of misusing the American Military Aid against his political opponents. She explained, “Pervez Musharraf’s government is using America’s military aid against political opponents rather than terrorists.” She criticized the Musharraf Government for the abusive treatment of attorneys. She called, “The treatment of attorneys, such as Munir Malik, is outrageous.”
In his address, Congressman Steven Israel from New York blasted President Musharraf and the U.S. policy of supporting him. The Congressman equated the current Pakistani situation with the Nazi Germany. He said, “The current situation reminds me of Nazi Germany, when then the judges took an oath before Hitler rather than the law.” He was quite clear about the principles under which an independent judiciary should work under when he said, “Judges should be bound to the law, not to the desire of one man.” He further criticized the American foreign policy of supporting one-man rule of President Musharraf. According to him, “United States has made a mistake by supporting one man. We should support the people.”
Dr. Zaffar Iqbal speaking on the occasion said, “”We strongly support the proposal by Senator Biden” “The aid should encourage democracy, not despotic rule.” said Dr Iqbal.
Amina Khan, Pakistani-American lawyer talked about images of Pakistani’s fighting for the rule of law and free press. She said, ” Democratic ideals are indigenous to the people of Pakistan. After all, this was a nation founded upon the ideals of democracy by a lawyer, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. “
Other speakers included, T. Kumar, Advocacy Director of the Amnesty International and Jennifer Leonard, Washington Advocacy Director at International Crisis Group and Shamaya. Gilo representing Pluralism Fund .
Mr. Kumar and Ms. Gilo complimented the Pakistani-American Coalition for their successful program, and predicted that such activism will contribute towards the cause of democracy and human rights in Pakistan.
Following is a list of some of the most distinguished guests who attended the program: Members of Congress who attended, addressed and supported the restoration of Judiciary in Pakistan:
1. Senator Claire Mccaskell (D-MO)
2. Congressman Harry E Mitchell (D-AZ)
3. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
4. Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA)
5. Congressman Steve J Israel (D-NY)
6. Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY)
7. Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)
8 Congressman Nick Joe Rahall (D-WV)
Representative of the following Congressional Members were present in the program:
Congressman John Tierney (D-MA) Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) Congressman Shiela Jackson Lee (D-TX) Congressman John P Sarbanes (D-MA) Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) Wife of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) attended the programCoalition of Concerned Citizens:
Sponsors: Asian American Network against Abuse of Human Rights (ANAA), Association of Pakistani Professional (AOPP), American Muslim Peace Initiative (AMPI), Doctors for Democracy and Justice NY, Association of Pakistani Physicians for Justice and Democracy (APPJD), Pakistani- American Democratic Dialogue (PADD), Pakistani American Congress (PAC), Friends of South Asia (FOSA), Sindhi Association of North America (SANA).
Dr. Zaffar Iqbal – (928) 550-0062
Dr. Nasir Gondal – (917) 860-0808
Amina Khan Esq. – (202) 415-4566