Ajj Akhan Waris Shah noon, kay toon kabran wichon boal
Tey aj kitab-e-Ishaq da koi agla warq phol
Ik royi see dhi Punjab di’ toon likh likh maray wain
Aj lakhan dhian rondiyan’ tehno Waris Shah no kahan
Uth dard manda daya dardya’ tak apna Punjab
(These lines were written by famous Punjabi writer Amrta Preetam in her elegy on the partition of the Subcontinent. She was asking the great Punjabi poet Waris Shah, who had written heart-wrenching poetry on the folk love story of Heer Ranjha, to speak from his grave on the plight of women who were raped and killed during the partition).
Today I want to ask Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, to wake up and speak from the grave in favour of scores of judges and lawyers of Malakand and Buner who have been asked not to come to the court by one self-styled clergyman Sufi Mohammed. My dear friend Sabih can you hear it, Sufi has declared that the judiciary you defended vociferously is un-Islamic. The profession of lawyers is un-Islamic. You were emotionally and intellectually disturbed when a military dictator had sacked the Chief Justice of Pakistan. You were defiant when the judges were asked to take an oath under an unconstitutional provisional order on November 3, 2007. You used to get disturbed if even one judge complained that he does not have money to pay his rent. Now my friend, speak up for all the lawyers and judges of the lost paradise of Swat who have been given marching orders by gun-totting Taliban.
Wake up and speak Sabih the Constitution of Pakistan which was your bible has been challenged. Democracy for which you struggled together from the days of movement against General Ayub Khan has been challenged by the people who have not come out of medieval caves. Speak up my friend the very existence of the Supreme Court of which you had taken the oath in September 2008 has been challenged.
Wake up you cannot doze of for so long, we have to debate these issues. We have many unfinished debates my friend. You loved to debate every issue and analyse the proposition thread bare. You never accepted any proposition whether it was regarding some simple household issue or a political, social and philosophical issue. You loved to jest, what you called “recordify.” Now wake up and taunt me smilingly under your heavy moustache: ‘Babar Ayaz what can we do, the accord has been signed by your secular political party ANP.’ Let me retort that ANP is not the NAP to which I belonged to some three decades ago. ANP is not the true follower of NAP which had the courage to pass a resolution against the anti-Ahmedi law passed by Mr. Bhutto, it had the courage to challenge General Yahya Khan when he launched a military operation against the people of East Pakistan, it had the vision to oppose General Zia’s Afghanistan adventure that has seriously injured the body polity of Pakistan. And we are still bleeding from wounds inflicted by such policies
Wake up my friend we have unfinished debate on whether the sovereignty belongs to the Constitution or the Parliament in a State. Remember you started this debate when I visited you at the Supreme Court judges lodge. We debated it for the whole evening, for 5-hours and yet did not conclude it. Now it seems you have time and the issue has also become urgent. So let’s start it again from where we left. Our mutual friend of over four decades Rafiq Safi Munshey is also here and wants to join the discussion, so get up you lazy bum.
Wake up my friend, your youngest son Ramizuddin is here from his University in Ottawa and like always wants to speak unendingly. He has a lot to discuss with you as usual about history, comparative religions and Faiz’s poetry. Wake up, your eldest Sanaa has finally resigned from her job, although you and I had tried to persuade her on phone from Islamabad. Wake up and don’t leave it to Salahuddin the burden of your reputation as ‘genius.’ Wake up, your wife who looked after you and your friends with love and care is roaming the house like a zombie.
When all these appeals failed to wake you up I thought may be I should go and tell you to get up Sabih, your CJP is coming, thinking you respected him for his courage to say ‘NO.’ But before I could have done it Salahuddin rang up on that April 19th the day when my heart was already heavy as it was the 13th death anniversary of your friend and my first wife Najma, to announce that you finally pronounced the judgment that Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed should be laid to an eternal rest. We were all helpless as it was your last judgment which we had to respect. So our unfinished debates shall have to wait to be resumed — if at all there is life hereafter. (firstname.lastname@example.org)