CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

April 9, 2008

Aitzaz blames caretakers, police; defers resignation

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:04 am

THE NEWS

APRIL 09, 2008

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Updated at  

By Atif Nadeem

LAHORE: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan has deferred his decision to resign as SCBA president in order to keep the lawyers’ movement intact.

Addressing a press conference Tuesday night, he said he was not aware of the presence of the former parliamentary affairs minister Dr Sher Afgan in Lahore and he was in a meeting when he was informed that some lawyers had detained Dr Afgan.

He said he asked Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) President Anwar Kamal and Lahore Bar Association (LBA) President Manzoor Qazir to reach the spot so Dr Sher Afgan could be provided protection and a safe passage. He said he was worried about a heavy presence of the lawyers and he perceived that the situation could become worse if he did not turn up at the scene.

He said the incident was completely engineered by the agencies as there were only 50 per cent lawyers “when I asked them to raise their hands as an oath not to attack Dr Sher Afgan when he would come out.” He said there were 50 per cent other people who had perpetrated this violent act against Sher Afgan.

He said he had discussed security situation with the police officials present at the scene and they had assured him that nobody could manhandle Dr Sher Afgan as they had deployed a sufficient contingent of police personnel and officials to stop any untoward incident. He said the police officials had also pointed out at some police officials who were in civvies.

Aitzaz said he demanded the police officials call in more police force so the crowd could be dispersed while keeping the situation under control. He said that even after four hours the police officials could not deploy enough number of police force which had endorsed this intuition that there were some hidden elements who wanted to see a chaotic scene there.

He said it was highly condemnable that Dr Sher Afgan was badly manhandled. Despite some differences with Dr Sher Afgan, he said he came to his help but all his efforts failed as there was a well-organised conspiracy to damage the lawyers’ moment at this critical juncture when the new parliament was pushed to restore the deposed judges.

He said the ambulance provided by the police officials to shift Dr Sher Afgan to a safe place had no driver as delay could help worsen the situation. He said those people who were not hailing from lawyers’ community succeeded in attacking the ambulance while breaking its windscreen and windowpanes in order to injure Dr Sher Afgan. He said Dr Sher Afghan was shifted to another ambulance so that he could be removed from the scene without any procrastination.

Aitzaz said he had resolved to resign from the office of SCBA president while seeing many lawyers at the scene who were hurling abuses and shouting violence-provoking slogans against Dr Sher Afgan. He said Punjab Bar Council (PBC) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) would take stringent action against all those lawyers.

He said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had also urged him not to resign so that the drive for independence of judiciary and rule of law could not be disrupted. He laid whole responsibility of this incident on the caretaker Punjab government which had been issuing directions at the beck and call of President Musharraf. He said Musharraf had become the root cause for all this anarchy prevalent in the country since March 9, 2007.

“If President Musharraf resigned from the office of the President, there would be a considerable reduction in the suicide bombings in the country.” He alleged that President Musharraf’s obduracy had led the whole nation to lawlessness.

He said he had deferred his decision to resign from the office of the SCBA President as the presidents of all the Bars across Pakistan had warned to resign if he would leave the lawyers in the lurch. He said it would take him a day or two to give final decision over the issue of his SCBA presidency.

Earlier SCBA President Ch Aitzaz Ahsan and and Lahore Bar Association President Manzoor Qadir announced resignation from from their offices for their failure in giving a save passage to former federal law minister Dr Sher Afghan Khan Niazi from the crowd of violent lawyers.

Manzoor Qadir condemned the incident and termed it a conspiracy to sabotage the lawyers struggle for reinstatement of the judges and revival of the judiciary. He said lawyers always protected people from unlawful actions but this action defamed the lawyers and their struggle and brought a bad name for them.

Meanwhile Federal Minister for Culture and PML-N central leader Saad Rafique also called upon Aistzaz Ahsan and expressed complete solidarity with the lawyers’ movement unless the deposed judges are restored within 30 days as it was envisaged in Murree Declaration signed by the PPP and PML-N. He said a case of terrorism had been registered in a local police station and investigations would be completed within next 48 hours. He said the PML-N’s Punjab government would expose the whole plot very soon. He said there was a complete uniformity between both the parties over the issue of restoration of judiciary and there would be no ifs and buts in this regard. He said it was an attempt to thwart lawyers’ efforts for independence of judiciary. He said that the PML-N would fully suppot the lawyers in the future without any hesitations.

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