Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced H. Res. 1044, co-sponsored by Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), calling on the government of Pakistan to restore its “ supreme court and high court justices and other members of the legal profession in Pakistan who were removed from office since the imposition of emergency rule…” Full text of the resolution is below.
Condemning the dismissal of the Supreme Court in Pakistan and calling for their reinstatement by the Government of Pakistan.
Whereas on March 9, 2007, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan suspended the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry;
Whereas this removal triggered months of protests by hundreds of Pakistani lawyers;
Whereas On July 20, 2007, the Supreme Court of Pakistan found Chaudhry’s removal unconstitutional and reinstated him as Chief Justice;
Whereas following his November 3, 2007 imposition of emergency rule, President Musharraf required Supreme Court justices to take a new oath of office under the Provisional Constitution Order and dismissed seven judges, including the Chief Justice, who refused to take this new oath;
Whereas the principles of constitutional order and the rule of law are prerequisites to any functioning democracy; and
Whereas an independent judiciary and free elections are equally vital as fundamental foundations of democracy; and
Whereas, section 699F(b)(3)(D) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public law 110-161), withholds $50,000,000 of Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan pending the restoration of an independent judiciary; and
Whereas these actions by President Musharraf undermine democratic governance and rule of law in Pakistan and thus reduce the ability of the Government of Pakistan and the Government of the United States to effectively fight against al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and threaten United States interests in South Asia: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) commends members of the legal profession in Pakistan as well as opposition politicians, human rights activists, and independent journalists for their courageous opposition to the removal of Chief Justice Chaudhry and their principled leadership in defending the Constitution of Pakistan and promoting the rule of law;
(2) welcomes public statements from Pakistan’s new civilian leaders that they intend to restore to office all judges dismissed after November 3, 2007; and
(3) calls on the Government of Pakistan, consistent with section 699F(b)(3)(D) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, to restore to their positions Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and all Supreme Court and high court justices and other members of the legal profession in Pakistan who were removed from office since the imposition of emergency rule, and to respect the independence of the Pakistani judiciary.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her seventh term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She also Chairs the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.