Washington, Nov 22 : Former Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan has said that while a new era of hope is dawning in the United States, in Pakistan the agenda of democracy lies in an unfinished state.
In a keynote speech to the Middle East Institute's annual conference here on Friday, Ahsan said there could be no democracy without an independent judiciary.
The lawyers' movement, which had spearheaded this struggle, was continuing because what had been promised, namely the restoration of the unconstitutionally deposed judges, had not been delivered, the Daily Times quoted him, as saying.
He also urged the conference not to confuse terrorism with either Islam or the Middle East. Terrorism, he added, has more to do with a sense of being under occupation.
He also riled against policymakers in Washington who believe that by cultivating the local elite in a third country and ignoring the people, they can achieve the objectives they have set themselves.
Such a mistake was made with General Pervez Musharraf and it was time to learn from that experience, Aitzaz advised.
He said even if the indigenous elite were taken in hand, the masses should not be expected to be grateful for being rained down with bombs.
Ahsan emphasized that Pakistan is an embattled state and it should be clear that unless the mass of the people is behind the effort to fight terrorism, that war can and will never be won.
He noted that president-elect Barack Obama is a leader who has spoken of people-friendly policies as he has stressed the need for resolving the Kashmir dispute.
Ahsan also spoke in welcoming terms of the Biden-Lugar Bill aimed at spending money to win the hearts and minds of the people in Pakistan.
Ahsan said had it not been for the lawyers' movement, Musharraf would not have even begun to negotiate with Benazir Bhutto or let Nawaz Sharif and her return to Pakistan.
He regretted that while Musharraf was trampling upon the people's rights and violating the constitution, not a single word of disapproval, not a syllable, not a decibel had been heard from Washington.