London: Lunch-time on the 28th of May 2012 the controversial right-wing leaning Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry received a vocal reception at the hands of the protesters gathered outside the dubious award giving ceremony of the International Council of Jurists (ICJ). Ironically Justice Chaudhry is himself the vice president of ICJ.
According to Zee News reported, “Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ha[s] been awarded for his “unique and tremendous contribution in the field of administration of justice and for the tireless and fearless endeavours towards administration of justice in Pakistan against all odds.”
Shortly before Justice Chaudhry received the award, two persons barged into the auditorium at the Hotel Court House raising slogans against genocide of Shias in Pakistan.
While outside a large demonstration by Sindhi, Hindu, Christian, Muslim activists was taking place against forced conversions of Hindu and Christian girls in Pakistan. The protesters were chanting loud slogans against Justice Chaudhry’s role in handing over the Hindu girls to their Muslim ‘husbands’ (kidnappers) whereas their families allege that all three girls were abducted on the orders of the influential custodian of a Muslim shrine Mian Abdul Haq (Mian Mitha) -Member National Assembly for the ruling PPP. However, the Supreme Court of Pakistan which otherwise is quick to award punishment to office bearers and ministers of the PPP on this occasion chose to support Mian Abdul Haq, consistent with Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry right-wing leaning, misogynist record.
Christian groups pointed out the lack of justice in Pakistani courts for scores of victims languishing in jails under trumped-up charges under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws which carry the punishment of death penalty. The protesters were allowed to speak to the organizers of the event.
The event was covered by a number of international news media including UK based websites including The Asians and a website sympathetic to PPP also known as Let Us Build Pakistan. Unfortunately the mainstream Pakistani media channels chose to self-censor any mention of the protest march due to fear of ongoing contempt of court cases against individuals who criticize Justice Chaudhry’s suo moto actions and decisions of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. ARY News London correspondent Ahmed Ali Syed continued his live broadcast from the venue with a ‘poker face’ despite the cacophony of noise in the background.
The representatives of World Sindhi Congress, Pakistan Hindu Council, Pakistan Minorities Rights Organization, All Pakistan Christian League and All Pakistan Minorities Alliance(part of ruling PPP) expressed the desire to work together in future to highlight the abuses of Human Rights and uphold the cause of religious freedoms in Pakistan. In the end the organizers thanked the larger Pakistani Christian community who campaigned on behalf their compatriot Hindus who form a very tiny percentage of one million Pakistanis residents in the UK.
Source: Adapted from Global Christian Voice