You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

PML, MQM trying to raise storm in a teacup: Episode engineered: LHCBA

The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-i-Azam are trying to raise storm in a teacup over manhandling of former minister for parliamentary affairs Dr Sher Afgan Niazi.

Speakers at a session of the LHCBA here on Wednesday were unanimous that the lawyers were being blamed for beating up Niazi in an episode engineered by the presidency, and the people who manhandled the minister were indeed policemen in civvies.

LHCBA Secretary Rana Asadullah, Abdur Rasheed Qureshi, Hafiz Abdur Rahman Ansari, Mian Abdul Qadoos, Hamid Khan, HRCP chairperson and advocate Asma Jehangir and LHCBA President Anwar Kamal spoke on the occasion.

They said since March 9, 2007, sorriest of the developments took place but those, who were trying to play up the incident, did not bother speaking about it. They said at a time when democratic forces were gaining strength, the dictator was trying to show the world that democracy was not right for the people of Pakistan.

They said the whole incident was the result of a well thought-out conspiracy under which Dr Niazi remained inside the office of the lawyer, and refused to come out even after the lawyers requested him to leave the place. The role of the police – which had been present on the spot but failed to prevent the incident even after the lapse of five hours – made it abundantly clear that it was a conspiracy.

Dr Niazi had visited the same place a day earlier and had the lawyers been so interested in beating him up, they could have done it on that day, they added.

They condemned former chief minister Pervaiz Elahi, former information minister Sheikh Rashid and MQM chief Altaf Husain for using derogatory remarks against lawyers in the wake of the incident.

They said the conspiracy was aimed at sabotaging the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of deposed judges. They vowed to continue the struggle and expose what they called “nefarious” designs of the dictator.

They said they would also hold accountable any lawyer found involved in the incident. They said the lawyers were nearing their objectives and needed to keep focus on their struggle, especially after the release of the judges and the Murree Declaration between the PPP and the PML-N for the restoration of the judges.

They asked Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan to reverse his decision on resignation because none of the lawyers were involved in the incident. They said the lawyers were baton-charged, stoned and tear-gassed but they never let patience slip out of their hands. They said the incident like May 12, engineered by the MQM, could not be forgotten and the lawyers wanted to do away with this culture of aggression.

Speaking on the occasion, LHCBA President Anwar Kamal said the manhandling of Dr Niazi was a reprehensible act. Let alone lawyers, not even a layman would want to beat up even a labourer, he added.

He said the lawyers were not involved in the incident as evident from their role of being on the forefront for establishment of the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and supremacy of the Constitution.

He added the men associated with agencies had been beating up Dr Niazi while the lawyers, present on the spot, tried to protect him.

He announced forming a committee consisting of former LHCBA presidents to examine the video footages of the whole incident and prescribe punishment for lawyers found involved in Niazi’s thrashing.

He announced observing a complete strike of the court proceedings on Thursday (today) and setting up of hunger strike camps for two hours in connection with the weekly protest over the Nov 3 Provisional Constitution Order.

LHCBA Secretary Rana Asadullah presented a resolution before the house against SCBA president’s resignation decision. The resolution, which also condemned the attack on Mianwali District Bar Association offices after the incident, was carried unanimously. Mianwali is the hometown of Dr Niazi.

It also demanded exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of May 12 incident in Karachi.

LBA: The Lahore Bar Association (LBA) has accused President Pervez Musharraf and the caretaker government of, what it says, “engineering the manhandling of former minister Dr Sher Afgan Niazi in Lahore on Tuesday”.

Addressing the general house at Aiwan-i-Adl on Wednesday, LBA President Manzoor Qadir said the manhandling was aimed at sabotaging lawyers’ movement for the independence of the judiciary.

He said he was an eye-witness to the incident, and that no lawyer was involved in attacking Dr Niazi.

A mob beat up the former minister for law and parliamentary affairs on Fane Road, ignoring bar leaders’ warnings that their action would jeopardise the drive for the revival of the pre-emergency judiciary.

He said only 40 to 50 per cent of the people present there were lawyers, who had tried their best to avoid the violence. Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan had himself rescued Dr Niazi, he added.

He said police provided ample leeway to the mob to attack Dr Niazi and did not try to protect Mr Niazi “because the attackers were from them”.

He said lawyers fought the “terrorist in uniform” for the restoration of judges and an independent judiciary. He claimed the establishment was trying to create differences among lawyers.

LBA Vice-President and Secretary Malik Arshad and Latif Khan Sara added the manhandling of Mr Afgan was continuity of the ongoing campaign of violence. They asked if lawyers had beaten up Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim.

They said lawyers would face trial if the government tried to involve even a single lawyer in the ongoing violent activities. They said saboteurs wanted to kill Dr Niazi to end the lawyers' movement.
PML, MQM trying to raise storm in a teacup: Episode engineered: LHCBA -DAWN - National; April 10, 2008
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President, governor blamed for Lahore incident

The Punjab governor, caretaker government and President House are allegedly involved in violence against former federal minister Dr Sher Afgan Niazi as they are conspiring to prove that the new democratic government is ineligible to control the state of affairs.

This was said by President Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Sardar Asmatullah at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Clearly those were officials of the intelligence agencies who thrashed the former minister and it was quite evident from their hair cuts and dressing, he alleged.

The LHCBA condemns the unfortunate incident and expresses its utter grief over the tragedy, he said.

The bar representatives said it was unjust to single out lawyers as the perpetrators of the unfortunate incident in Lahore.

People in February 18 elections discarded political parties that supported President Pervez Musharraf, and that annoyed the establishment which in collaboration with intelligence agencies was trying to sabotage the democratic process, Sardar Asmatullah claimed.

Trashing of former Sindh chief minister and ransacking of the official residence of Supreme Court judge, who did not take oath under November 3 PCO, reveal the real intentions of the conspirators.

The plot becomes more evident as the attack on Dr Arbab Rahim was carried out from the governor’s gallery in the Sindh Assembly, the LHCBA president said.
President, governor blamed for Lahore incident -DAWN - National; April 10, 2008
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Aitzaz ‘withholds’ decision to quit SCBA

President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan announced on Wednesday that he had withheld his decision to resign from the SCBA post, and accused the presidency of trying to sabotage the fledgling democracy and jeopardising the Bhurban Declaration on restoring pre-emergency judges.

“I am withholding the decision for a day to convince and consult the legal community since the entire executive committee of the SCBA as well as the presidents of different high court bars and districts bars have warned me that they would do the same if I quit,” he told reporters at his residence here.
Referring to the beating up of Dr Afgan and the treatment meted out to Arbab Ghulam Raheem, he alleged that such incidents were taking place because President Musharraf had refused to accept the people’s mandate of Feb 18. “He (President Musharraf) should not act like a spoilt child,” he observed.He also demanded that an inquiry committee be set up to look into the Dr Afgan incident and said that in future no lawyer would act contrary to the norms or decency in any manner.

He said being in a responsible position he felt that it was his duty to risk his life to save the former minister who, according to him, was manhandled by policemen in plainclothes and intelligence people. He said his allegations were supported by the fact that the driver of the vehicle was missing when Dr Afgan was rescued. Besides, only one Superintendent of Police and a dozen constables were on duty to handle such a charged situation.

He had gone there along with lawyers Manzoor Qadir and Anwar Kamal and, he said, everyone obeyed him and helped Dr Afgan.

He asked why had the Governor of Punjab, the caretaker chief minister, former chief minister Pervez Ellahi and the inspector-general of police, who were accusing lawyers, failed to show up at the scene to protect Dr Afgan.

He asked them where were they when he was beaten up in Islamabad at the time of filing of nomination papers of President Musharraf before the Election Commission.

Referring to the incidents of lawlessness in Karachi, he called up the leaders of the MQM to calm the situation in the city.
Aitzaz ‘withholds’ decision to quit SCBA post -DAWN - National; April 10, 2008
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