High treason: Journalists and lawyers demand trial of all offenders
LAHORE: “Neither the parliament nor the judiciary can legitimise unconstitutional acts of dictators and their collaborators,” a joint communique following a seminar organised by Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and Lahore Press Club on Saturday reads.
Lawyers, journalists, politicians and human rights activists at the seminar demanded accountability of all those who subverted, abrogated or suspended the Constitution since 1956.
The speakers included LHCBA President Abid Saqi, Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari, Justice (r) Malik Saeed Hassan, journalism veterans Hussain Naqi and IA Rehman, Lahore Press Club Secretary Shahbaz Mian, former LHCBA president Ahmad Awais, former National Assembly member Ayaz Amir, ANP Secretary General Ehsan Wyne and former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir, and Arshad Lodhi.
Asma Jahangir said that doors should be closed forever on dictatorship. She said former president Musharraf’s trial should not be aimed at revenge. She cautioned the judiciary against politics in the guise of rule of law.
Arshad Ansari said that Musharraf should not be tried for subverting the Constitution only but for all human rights violations. He said the prosecution should be free of prejudice.
Ansari added that military dictators and their aides, including generals, judges, politicians and journalists should be answerable for abrogating the Constitution.
Hussain Naqi proposed that the trials should be started since abrogation of the Constitution in 1956.
IA Rehman said that the judicial and parliamentary record of Pakistan was very poor. He proposed that laws should be amended to hand out punishments for those who violated their oaths.
Ayaz Amir said that justice should not be selective. He said General (r) Musharraf should be given fair trial.
A joint communiqué issued after the seminar reads, “In the past [certain] institutions have assisted dictatorial acts of the military rulers. We believe that by putting one person on trial and that too only for acts subsequent to November 3, 2007 would be a farce. It would smell of vengeance rather than justice. It would be a trial not in the public interest but to quench the thirst for revenge of certain elements, who in the past have themselves been collaborators of coups.”
“Therefore, a trial under the Article 6 of the Constitution should not be held in a selective manner and it should be taken up in a earnest and honest manner so that all elements involved in depriving people of their basic rights to be ruled through a democratic process must be tried according to law and due process observed. We demand that all those involved in subverting the Constitution since 1956 as envisaged in the law should be made accountable and full facts of the role of every institution be made public.”