=> LAHORE: The civil society organisations, lawyers, -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> LAHORE: The civil society organisations, lawyers,

LAHORE: The civil society organisations, lawyers, political activists and students staged a protest rally outside the residence of detained Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan for the restoration of the judiciary and freedom of detained lawyers on Sunday.

PPP candidate Ayaz Imran, who is contesting from the constituency (NA 124) which was otherwise associated with the detained leader, was also present. An unusual number of political activists with flags of Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also joined the protest, which was called by the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan while representatives and activists from lawyers organisations, Students Action Committee, Women Action Forum, Pakistan Medical Association, Campaign for Democracy and Rule of Law, National Commission for Peace and Justice and Teachers Action Committee were present on the occasion.

The rally was led by Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal while CCP member Hamid Zaman, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan council member Shahtaj Qazilbash, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Dr Zahid Muhayoddin, SAC activist Sufian, Teachers Action Committee leader Nabiha Mumtaz, Khurram Khossa, wife of Aitzaz Ahsan, Bushra Aitzaz, lawyers rights activist Athar Minallah, Irfan Gill and Ahsan Rasheed were also present.

The protesters said the issues, including inflation, shortage of basic necessities, establishment of true democracy, the rule of law and future of the country, were associated with the restoration of judiciary because the judiciary provided protection to the citizens.

Bushra Aitzaz said the deadline to keep her husband in detention would be over by the end of January, and the government had no other tool to keep him in detention under any legal framework while Aitzaz was more determined to carry on the movement of lawyers, as it had given a ray of hope for secure future to the people of Pakistan.

The speakers promised to increase the intensity of the protest campaign against the government till the restoration of judiciary. They further said that the way the key public figures, including judges and lawyers like Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, were detained and deprived of their right of freedom of speech, had exposed the government’s claim of being fair.

Shahtaj Qazilbash told The News that reopening of Geo TV was a success for the media and civil society who had worked together to put the largest TV channel back on air but they had yet to travel miles and miles to achieve the dream of building a free and prosperous Pakistan. She mentioned that the government had created an environment of fear through recent curbs on the media and the discriminatory media laws, which was hindering media men in performing their professional duties with full concentration.

Athar Minallah added that the government wanted the lawyers to stop their movement for the restoration of judiciary by adopting different inhuman measures, including torture, persecution and unnecessary interference in their affairs, but they had already put their careers and families on stake and now they would not end their campaign till the completion of their mission.

Teachers’ leader Nabiha said the government will not be able to keep the protesters away from the rallies and demonstrations and the arrests of rights activists in any part of the country would only strengthen the movement, reminding them of the sacrifices of their fellows for the sake of the rule of law in the country. She said the teachers were also playing a key role in the ongoing movement by educating the youth and the next generation about the issues.

Source: The News
Date:1/28/2008