The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) on Tuesday adopted a resolution demanding early arrest of Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti’s killers and Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s resignation.
The LHCBA also demanded the federal government to provide financial assistance to the bereaved.
The resolution was moved by Advocate Robinson George Nicholson. He said that Bhatti’s murder was a murder of the mankind. He said it was a proof of the government’s failure.
He said that Malik had failed to provide the slain minister the protection he deserved and therefore should resign.
Asghar Ali Gill, the LHCBA president, said that the bar demanded the federal government to identify all operatives of the CIA and Blackwater and banish them from the country. He also demanded the government ensure that Raymond Davis, the American citizen accused of killing two innocent citizens at Qartaba Chowk, served any sentence pronounced by the trial court according to the Pakistani law.
Akbar Munawar Durrani, the Christian Lawyers Association president, asserted in his speech that the Constitution of Pakistan did not treat the minorities equally and discriminated against them.
He had said that the discrimination started early and questioned why Muslims students were given extra 20 marks by the government for Hafiz-i-Quran, and Christian students were deprived of such a facility for having knowledge of the Bible.
Advocate Khwaja Ghulam Bari denied the allegation and said that there was no discrimination against any religious minority in the Constitution. He demanded that Durrani withdraw his statement.
Advocate Muhammad Jameel Rana and some other lawyers supported Advocate Bari and shouted at Durrani, who then left the rostrum.
Later, some lawyers approached Durrani and persuaded him that the Constitution of Pakistan did not discriminate against the minorities in any way.
Justice (retired) Nasira Javed Iqbal said that only verbal condemnations of such incidents were not enough. There was a need for their practical implementation to bring back the Quaid’s Pakistan.
She said that Salmaan Taseer’s assassination had resulted in a wave of hatred among sections of society. She condemned the lawyers who garlanded Taseer’s self-confessed murderer Mumtaz Qadri.
She also condemned the interior minister, Rehman Malik, for his statement that he would personally shoot whoever committed blasphemy. Bhatti’s muder, she said, was an assault on rule of law.
Advocate Chaudhry Zulfiqar, a Punjab Bar Council member, said that whoever had killed Bhatti could not be a Muslim.
He said not only the minorities but mosques, shrines, colleges and public places had been victim to terrorism. “There is a dire need to identify our common enemy,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2011.
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