Original Articles

The News’ psychic powers, Access to Agencies and Ansar Abbasi’s worries – by Ahmed Iqbalabadi

The News and Jang Group are the evangelists without whom Pakistan cannot survive or so it seems. The News knows it all. It has sources everywhere and its investigative powers are much stronger than even the top sleuths in the country. The recent tussle between the Lahore Bar Association and the Lahore High Court / lower judiciary is a cause of concern for The News most! And why not. Judges were the messiahs of Pakistan. The Lawyers had delivered democracy in the country while journalists like Ansar Abbasi, Kamran Khan, Hamid Mir etc had played the pivotal role in creating the façade that we see now.

In the recent tussle, no one has been able to exactly pinpoint what are the causes for such a fall from grace for the Judiciary and Lawyers. One thing has been certain that when the lawyers began their strong arm tactics against Zawar Shaikh in July, the CJ Khwaja Sharif should have played a proactive role and told the Lahore Bar Association that you cannot interfere in Administrative Matters of the judiciary. Instead they were given hope that the matter will be looked into. After the summer break, tensions began simmering again leading to the events of last week. What has happened is a sad part of our history with Zawar Shaikh being sent on leave.

The media especially, The News and Jang are trying their best to implicate the PPP leadership in all this nonsense. I do not want to comment on the matter as it is just too much for me to think of all the internal politics of the Bars. Amongst 100 lawyers, they can have 140 groups amongst themselves.

The News has tried to continue its spinning of matters. In their edition of 6th October, they are privy to a report from “Agencies” titled “What the agencies say about lawyers’ tussle”. Nowhere in the report is the name of “intelligence agency” been disclosed. Is it ISI, IB or their very favorite “Special Branch” which a few days back had leaked plans to kill Khwaja Sharif. One must recall that the report was leaked through Ansar Abbasi as an eid gift to the public.  Another important point to note in the “report” is that The News itself is saying that the “report with slight amendments is reproduced”. What if the report is doctored by The News? I for one cannot trust their reporting. In fact I now read Jang and The News to feel amused when down!

What the agencies say about lawyers’ tussle

The News

6th October, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The lawyers’ issue in Lahore was politicised when a candidate for the office of the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association supported the lawyers against the judiciary, an intelligence agency report says. The report also mentions that the root cause of the tussle was the appointments in the clerical staff in the district courts as the Lahore Bar Association office-bearers were demanding their share.
The report with slight amendments is reproduced below:
“1) The issue between Lahore Bar Association (LBA) and Distrcit and Sessions Judge, Lahore, Zawar Hussain, which started two and a half months ago, culminated into an attack on the chief justice Lahore High Court on September 30, 2010.
2) The reason for the row between the LBA and the sessions judge was that the latter refused to accommodate the LBA office bearers in the recruitment of Naib Qasids, Junior Clerks, etc. The sessions judge is reputed to be an honest and stern person. His strictness irks the lawyers. Therefore, the row has lingered with both the parties sticking to their guns. The lawyers of the LBA have continuously protested and observed partial boycott of the courts for the transfer of the sessions judge.
3) The LBA office bearers were hoping that the high court would succumb to their pressure. However, different quarters and groups of lawyers had been briefing the high court on different lines i.e. not to transfer an honest judge. Traditionally, bar associations’ demand to transfer a judge is not turned down. In the case, it was a deviation and defiance from the previous practice, which enraged the lawyers.
4) The attack on the chief justice LHC courtroom on 30th September was not linked and endorsed by majority of lawyers. However, the police action against the lawyers in the Aiwan-e-Adal on 1st October was considered harsh.
5) The issue became politicised when a candidate for the office of the president of Supreme Court Bar Association openly backed the LBA. Similarly, the Khosa group within the Punjab Bar Council has also jumped in to take advantage of the situation. Khurram Khosa, son of Latif Khosa, was seen playing an active role in incidents at the Aiwan-e-Adal, by openly siding with the lawyers.
6) In the wake of the upcoming election of the LBA and the LHC Bar Association, various lawyers groups are trying to take side with the lawyers. The Latif Khosa Group and independent lawyers group are already in the open while Hamid Khan’s professional group is so far pro-chief Justice LHC. However, every group wants to be seen as a great sympathiser of the lawyers’ issue.
7) The lawyers have announced to observe a black day on 4th October to protest against the police action. They may try to file a writ petition and to get a case registered against the high officials of the Lahore Police.
8) In the meanwhile, Lahore Bar Association has passed a resolution, banning the entry of prominent lawyers who have criticised lawyers’ action into the Lahore Bar, Lahore High Court Bar and Punjab Bar. These lawyers include Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Raja Anwar advocate, Justice (retd) Nasira Javed, Qazi Anwar, Awais Ahmed, Advocate, Ather Minallah, Justice (retd) Tariq Chaudhry, Hamid Khan, Rana Sanaullah advocate, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, his son Khawaja Muhammad Bilal and his son-in-law. It is evident that the agitating lawyers are now targeting Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammd Sharif, his son and son-in-law as part of their main agenda.
9) Similarly, District Bar Association, Multan, has issued a press release, announcing that it will not allow Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif to visit the Multan Bar on 04-10-2010. Sheikhupura and Kasur Bar Associations have also expressed the same views. On the other hand, judges of lower judiciary in Multan Division have announced resignations to show solidarity with the chief justice.”

 

Why Ansar Abbasi is worried is a matter of surprise for me.  In his report titled “PM gags civil servants, officials, he is questioning why the PM was compelled to issue this directive of forcing bureaucracy not to have any media contacts! The report itself talks that the civil servants have to follow rules called “Conduct & Efficiency and Discipline Rules 1973” in their true letter and spirit. Off course, what Ansar Abbasi is not realizing that there are rules governing every employment. If the Prime Minister is reminding his administration of the rules, is he doing wrong? Being secretive is one thing and being misquoted is another.

Now coming back to Ansar Abbasi, why should he be worried? He is a master of investigation. He makes false reports based on his own sources and also coerces people to confirm his assertions. A few months back in a report he had asked a civil servant if there is pressure on him from the President or President House. The answering civil servant had very candidly said that he was a small person and saw no reason for the President to pressurize him!

The world of bureaucracy is a very difficult world. A civil servant works for years to reach a position of responsibility, perks and privileges. A number of bureaucrats are smarting from the controversies that have been created by a number of these investigative journalists. I seriously hope Ansar Abbasi and his gang’s investigative journalism is seen through as nothing less than blackmail by the bureaucrats. After all, their names and their statements have been misrepresented time and again by The News, Jang and their blackmailing journalists.