ISLAMABAD, Feb 9: “Don’t trample the flag.” “Save me.” “Don’t let them take me away.” These were the words of human rights activist, Tahira Abdullah, as she was being arrested on Saturday evening near Judges Enclave.

Tahira Abdullah was carrying the national flag which fell on the ground as a burly policeman held her right arm while other lady constables held her by the left.

Till the last moment, Ms Abdullah desperately tried to hold on to the flag.

Ms Abdullah and many civil society activists and lawyers were protesting for the restoration of Pre-November 3 judiciary and release of the deposed judges and top lawyers. The national flag fell on the ground and was trampled under the boots of the policeman.

The law enforcers prevented the lawyers and civil society activists from going to the residence of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry living on a hill in the Judges Enclave.

But were the lawyers and the civil society activists protesting for one man, deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who is under house arrest with his children for more than a 100 days since November 3 last year? Or was the protest was for something more? Something which the green and white flag with the crescent and the star symbolises since the struggle for independence from our British colonial masters?

Perhaps for both. The detention of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and leaders of lawyers movement like Aitzaz Ahsan have now become an icon of resistance and struggle for a new Pakistan — a new Pakistan in which one of the rallying call is a judiciary free from the oaths of allegiance to any one individual.

The lawyers and civil society activists who tried to show solidarity with the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had announced in the Lawyers Convention earlier at District Courts in the capital that it was the lawyer’s movement under Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah which led to the creation of Pakistan. And, in the speeches made in the National Convention, the lawyers expressed the resolve that they would be the one who would build a new Pakistan.

Tahira Abdullah’s desperate cries to hold on to the national flag resonated in the air long after she was whisked away in a police mobile.

The words resonated with history of the pre-independence era when Muslim women defied the colonial police presence to bring down the Union Jack and hold the green crescent and star flag flying high.

Despite arrests, baton charge and tear gassing, the lawyers and civil society activists have vowed to continue their struggle and hold the national flag high, not to let it be trampled by the boots trying to preserve an old and decaying system. Despite being beaten back on Saturday evening, the lawyers and the civil society activists believe a new Pakistan is just round the corner.

Opinion

Editorial

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