Posted March 12, 2009
A couple of years ago, when General Musharraf was running Pakistan, he sacked the judiciary because he was afraid of its independent rulings and thought his election itself might be ruled illegal.
Lawyers from around the country built a massive movement and essentially cut the legs out from under the Musharraf government, demanding reinstatement of the 63 judges. A coalition–led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in alliance with Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N)–supported this demand, but once elected to office the PPP reneged.>
The lawyers’ movement called for another Long March beginning on March 12, 2009 in order to rebuild momentum for the restoration of the independent judiciary. Meanwhile the PPP government plotted to derail it. Here is a report on the first day of the march, written by Farooq Tariq, spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan, a revolutionary organization.
On March 12 police in Karachi arrested three activists of the Labour Party Pakistan. Dozens of lawyers and other political activists were also arrested. They were part of the lawyers’ long march that began this morning from Karachi, The police failed to stop it but did halt it at the Toll Plaza outside Karachi. All the participants were forcefully returned; those who resisted were arrested.
The police targeted Nasir Mansoor, national labor secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan and member of the LPP national executive committee. His car was snatched. He was severely beaten and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Police also arrested Shela Rezwan, LPP Sindh Committee member, Samina from the Peoples Resistance and Sadiq and Khalid of the LPP Karachi. Shela and Samina were released after several hours; Sadiq and Khalid are still in police custody. The police also arrested the main local leadership of the lawyers’ movement. Most of the television channel broadcast Nasir’s beating and the arrests.
The LPP has announced two protest demonstrations for 13 March against this police repression. The Karachi demonstration will be at 3pm in front of the Karachi Press Club and the Lahore demonstration will be held in front of Lahore Press Club at 4pm. We request all the political and trade unions and social activists join the demonstration.
Despite this repression, dozens of LPP activists are making their way by train and private buses to Lahore, then on to Islamabad for the 16 March sit in. One comrade from Karachi has already arrived in Islamabad to take part in the action.
It is worth mentioning that when lawyers came out of the Sindh High Court building to begin the march, LPP and Awami Tehreek, both part of the Awami Jamhoori Tehreek, were the only political parties with their red flags accompanying the lawyers.
Over 20 comrades from LPP, mainly women, were able to reach the High Court building despite the closure of all the roads and the heavy presence of police around the building.
Over 40 LPP comrades are participating in the long march that began in Quetta. It was not stopped by the Baluchistan government and is now proceeding to Sukhar in Sind. It is reported that the Sindh police will arrest they when they will enter Sindh.
Despite all the police repression, the lawyers’ long march continues. In Lahore, thousands of lawyers and political activists held a rally despite all police despotism.