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Athar Minallah’s response to Ansar Abbasi & Gang

In a befitting reply, Athar Minallah has questioned the attacks on himself, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Aitzaz Ahsan and Justice Tariq Mahmood in the last few weeks by the gang led by Ansar Abbasi at The News. It is true that if you are following the line of Ansar Abbasi and the gang, you are a hero. If you follow a line which is slightly different then you become a villain. I can empathize what must be going through the minds of those who are now being vilified.

Well done Mr. Minallah! We all have to work together against this gang that aids and abets obscurantist forces. You did a great job in following your principles and supporting the restoration of judiciary but you must acknowledge that the gang mentality and mafia type approach of some people is the actual threat to democracy and constitution and not the government of the time.

Who are betraying the unsung heroes of the lawyers’ movement?

By Athar Minallah

 The News, June 16, 2010

ISLAMABAD: This is with reference to the news item published on the front page in the daily, ‘The News’ on June 14, 2010, titled “Zardari camp pins hopes on Asma as next SCBA chief”. An Urdu translation was also printed in the daily Jang.

Quoting some ‘insiders’ it has been asserted that amongst others, I will be supporting Asma Jahangir in the next SCBA election ‘for my own reasons’. The correspondent has attempted to give an impression that I and others named in the report have switched sides and are now anti-independent judiciary. The unwarranted and deliberate assertions relating to me is the most recent attempt on the part of a faction of journalists working for your paper to malign me and mislead the readers. I have had an excellent relationship with the entire team of both the dailies. The phone calls made to Asma Jehangir and Tariq Mahmood are mentioned, yet no one bothered to verify the purported ‘insider information’ from me. Notwithstanding Asma Jehangir’s brilliant record as a courageous defender of human rights, in her recent interviews she named those who supported her. Except for one name, the news report is contrary to her statements. The question is not about who supports who, it is about professional ethics and integrity. Unethical practices, whether in my profession or journalism, are the worst form of corruption.

A malicious campaign has been initiated against a few lawyers, merely because this faction does not subscribe to their independent thinking. When my comments or views regarding the 18th Amendment, democracy or my interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution did not find favour with this group, news items appeared alleging that I had become pro-government and anti-independent judiciary. I have been quoted out of context and the stories about me were given misleading titles. Starting with the news report “From Heroes to Zeros”, “Four lawyers support the government without a reason”, “Athar threatens the Supreme Court” and the latest news item, all of them form a series of biased and unethical reporting.

I admit that I have made blunders in the past, and through my acts and omissions may have contributed to the mutilation of the Constitution. But March 9, 2007 was a turning point. The act of defiance aimed at upholding the sanctity of the Constitution by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on that day made me vow to always defend the only defence my beloved motherland has. The chief justice was not known to me, but he gave me the direction to commit myself to this struggle.

In the following months and till the restoration of the chief justice on March 16, 2009, I saw the real Pakistan. I saw the idealism of young lawyers, students, members of civil society and young media persons. I witnessed the downtrodden people and abject poverty. They stood on the roadside for hours, to shower flowers on the marching young lawyers. I saw the hope in their eyes that the success of the movement would change their lives for the better. How can we ever forget the lawyers who were burnt alive, or the brutal murder of the young dedicated Deputy Registrar Hammad Raza, whose only crime was that he had been appointed purely on merit and was close to the chief justice. It was for this reason that I did not resume my law practice with the restoration of the judges. I accepted my first brief and appeared in court after the implementation of the judgment of July 31, whereby all those judges appointed by Dogar were removed. I cannot let down those who made sacrifices or betray them, and I will speak my mind no matter what price I may have to pay.

Today, I have become a villain for some because I have no political agenda, or rather do not share an agenda with them. My commitment to upholding the Constitution and the honour and dignity of the courts seems to be an irritant for some. For me the goals of the lawyers movement will be achieved when the lower judiciary becomes effective and independent. My biggest fault is that I condemn any form of ‘law of necessity’ for removing elected governments unconstitutionally or undermining the parliament. We need to empower the people of Pakistan by allowing even the worst democracy to continue. If, as a nation we could tolerate Ayub khan, Zial ul Haq and Musharraf for forty out of sixty-three years of Pakistan’s history, then why not tolerate democracy?

So coming back to the issue of who has changed sides, I stand where I stood on 9th March 2009. I made it clear then that the movement was a struggle for democracy, for upholding the Constitution, and for the independence of the judiciary. I was often accused of focusing on personalities, in other words that the movement was for the restoration of the CJP. My reply then was the same as it is now, that individuals become symbols or catalysts for a revolution. They sow the seeds which future generations must nurture. Kindly dig out any interview of mine on the topic during the movement. The irony is that those lawyers who opposed the movement, who appeared before Dogar and who tried their utmost to sabotage our struggle are now the heroes. And it is journalists such as the group I mentioned who give them that status, because now they are playing to their tune. Now supporting the Constitution means supporting Zardari; supporting the new process for recruiting judges in the 18thamendment means turning against an independent judiciary. Why ? Because there is a strong anti-democratic mindset which is bent upon undermining the parliament and pitching it against the Supreme Court so as to achieve results which are not possible to realize through democratic and constitutional means. This mindset has ravaged institutions and brought Pakistan to the brink of devastation which we face today. This myopic vision is a curse from which we need to rid ourselves of. I have never minded people disagreeing with my views and I have never tried to defend my stance to anyone. But when baseless lies are attributed to me then I most certainly will speak up, since I owe it to posterity to set the record straight and to expose such underhand yellow journalism.

Lastly, I would like to mention that I have never been associated with Bar politics nor have I any interest whatsoever. Moreover, I have no role whatsoever in the elections of SCBA. However, for a candidate such as Anwar Kamal, I would have worked for his success as a worker because through his conduct he had established that he stood for principles and truly believed in the rule of law as despite his financial constraints he did not bow to the Dogar courts till the restoration on March 16, 2009. With Mr Anwar Kamal not being in the field anymore, it is unfair to attribute my support to any other candidate. I wish all the candidates well and expect that unlike the present leadership they would strive to fulfill the goals of the historic movement rather than undermining the will of the people of Pakistan. It is my faith that truth and principles ultimately prevails.

Email: atharminallah@gmail.com

About the author

Ahmed Iqbalabadi

12 Comments

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  • Truth-Seeker : Well done Athar Minallah Sb, well done indeed !!!!

    During Judiciary Movement Noorani and Abbasi did praise Athar Minallah despite of the fact that Athar had served as Provincial Minister in Musharraf Martial Law set up in 2000.

    Past heroes, now zeroes Tuesday, February 16, 2010 Viewpoint By Ahmad Noorani
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27286

    ISLAMABAD: Some of the past heroes of the historic lawyers’ movement are now turning into big zeroes. They have started supporting the anti-independent judiciary movement and the presidency allegedly because of they see lucrative millions in government jobs and assignments as fees.

    According to senior lawyers who rendered numerous sacrifices during the movement for the restoration of the judiciary, this is happening because of the desires of some of the former top leaders of the lawyers’ movement to get their choice lawyers appointed as judges of the high courts.

    These lawyers say that some of their colleagues also want the Supreme Court to decide each and every matter according to their will and understanding of law and the constitution. These lawyers say when the top leaders opposed the lawyers strike call in January, their opinion was sincerely considered and the boycott call was taken back.

    “However, now when the Zardari-led government has violated the constitution, the lawyers leader who were made heroes by the people of the Pakistan sided with the presidency of Asif Ali Zardari and did not participate in Monday’s historic boycott by the lawyers,” a senior lawyer said.

    He added: “These former leaders did not know that they became heroes because of their stance in support of the independent judiciary and because of the people. If they continue to oppose the lawyers’ struggle, not only the public but the new generation of lawyers will not forgive them”.

    He said in the garb of saving the democracy, the former lawyers’ leaders are siding with worst ever dictatorship in civil dress. On the other hand four top leaders – Aitzaz Ahsan, Athar Minallah, Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood and Ali Ahmad Kurd – have their own views on the issues.

    Despite absence of these leaders, Hamid Khan, Rasheed A Rizvi, Latif Afridi, Mehmoodul Hassan and present president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Qazi Anwar, who are also the leaders of the historic lawyers’ movement in last three years, actively participated in Monday’s lawyers strike by keeping all the interests aside.

    Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood was of the view that if the lawyers would have announced staging of protest in front of the Prime Minister House or the Presidency he would have been part of this protest but he is against boycott of the courts. “Now, there is an independent judiciary, so why we are boycotting the courts?”

    Justice Tariq gave his reason for not participating in Monday’s lawyers’ protest. When asked that why he did not give this suggestion to the present leadership of the lawyers’ movement, he said whenever he expressed his views to this new leadership they simply listen to it and ignore it.

    Ali Ahmad Kurd, when approached by this correspondent was of the view that he will not disclose the reasons for not participating in lawyers’ protest right now and will make his disclosures after three days.

    Athar Minallah also said he would record his reasons later, while Aitzaz Ahsan did not respond to many calls and messages sent to him. Aitzaz was also specifically sent some questions, which also remained unanswered.

    Hamid Khan said he was part of the protest and tried to defend his former colleagues, saying that Munir A Malik was out of the country for his medical check up while all other lawyers’ leaders supported the lawyers’ call to protest against unconstitutional orders of the presidency. He said though some of the lawyers did not participate in the protest due to different reasons but they never opposed the call.

  • I would suggest Abbasi, not to go after lawyers. They are a different breed and has the same nuisance value in the society as the journalist does. They are vocal, intelligent and argumentive. They are unlike politicians who don’t want to offend anybody, no matter how much criticism they get. And the journalistic tirade is handled peacefully. Through this some journalist imagine as they scared politician. And also Abbasi gang must be upset as why they are not getting the same repsonse as they got in the past, why people don’t come to the street? They are making a terrible mistake in their calculations. The lawyer movement succeeded because it had political parties behind it, now they are not! That is why no lawyer strike gets successful as the main rallying point for the majority of the lawyers is PPP. So please focus somewhere else. You have seen already two guys, Shahid Masood, gone with the wind and Shaheen Sehbai is already in the departure lounge.

  • ansar abbasi should stop behaving like the supreme authority on every issue from religious to apex court , he tends to act like he knows every thing and he can’t be wrong.

  • Ather Minallah says he does not have political motives
    but Ansar Abbasi has political agenda ,Every Jamaati dreams that one day the sun rise from Mansura and JI would be in power ..Inqilab inqilab …Islami Inqilab

  • Well done Athar Minallah, you are right that the question is not about who supports who, it is about professional ethics and integrity. Unethical practices, whether in my profession or journalism, are the worst form of corruption.
    We democrat expect that instead of hate speech there should be free responsible speech, which ‘ll promote and support democratic process in Pakistan but unfortunately, our popular irresponsible media is continuously campaigning against Pakistan’s elected civilian government and ignoring issues related to conman citizens.
    Corporate media houses are not providing more variety to the consumers, independent observers are criticizing the new disastrous trend of political debates being presented by electronic media by ignoring the important issues of public interest. Channels are not focusing on human and pro people issues and instead practicing talk show democracy.

    Though it has strong bearing on future of democracy and people of Pakistan there is a very little debate on the role and responsibilities of private corporate media. Media organizations should initiate this much needed debate and chart out a way forward. Free and responsible media is actually the basis of democracy in the liberal paradigm.

  • I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly permit me recognise in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  • I have a flood of expressions against judicial “dictatorship”, but, after reading the e-mail of Mr. Athar Minallah, I am cooled down. At least some sane persons are out there that are apprehending the collapse of democracy by none other than judiciary. Mr. Athar Minallah, I salute you, I know you do not like PPP but you love Pakistan most.

    It is now strongly felt that the dream of Azad Adliya was a false dream. The judiciary is kowtowing the line given by the deep state in connivance with journalists like Ansar Abbasi. Judges were dictated yesterday, judges are dictated today. A CJ that has to himself clear from charges (Malik Riaz charges) is activating his extra judicial authority to appoint/remove high profile persons from executive quarters merely on unproven charges.

  • History is the yardstick for determining the guidelines for present and future. A leaf from history:

    Napoleon Bonaparte rose to height as French people loved his speeches and deeds. After assuming emperor of France, he was blinded by the unchallenged power he gained. He dictated terms and ignored his companions of hard days, rather punished them and eliminated them. He alone made all decisions thinking himself to be the wisest person on earth. His streak of conquers turned into one defeat after another. After heavy loss in battle with Russia, he was dethroned. He passed his last days in “locked out” confinement in St. Helena Island. Nobody was attending when he passed away.