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Lawyers rough up ex-minister Sher Afgan

April 09, 2008


LAHORE, April 8: Lawyers beat up the former minister for law and parliamentary affairs, Dr Sher Afgan Niazi, at the Fane Road here on Tuesday, ignoring bar leaders’ warnings that their action would jeopardise the drive for the revival of the pre-emergency judiciary.

As soon as word spread that Dr Niazi was on a visit to Malik Noor Ahmad Awan, an advocate, to discuss his election petition, hundreds of lawyers converged there and kept waiting for four hours for the former minister to come out.

Lahore police chief Malik Iqbal said he sought the help of Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan to bring out Dr Niazi under police escort.

Mr Ahsan reached the spot after the Lahore High Court Bar President Anwar Kamal and Lahore Bar Association President Manzoor Qadir failed to calm the lawyers down.

Mr Aitzaz asked lawyers to disperse peacefully and requested the press to stop the coverage of the event. When Dr Niazi was finally brought out, visibly charged lawyers swooped down on him from all directions, thrashing him with fists and kicks.

Mr Ahsan had to climb up the ambulance in a bid to pacify the lawyers after they ignored his passionate pleas and started smashing the window panes of the ambulance with fists, kicks and sticks.

A lawyer took off one of his shoes and lashed at Dr Niazi while others threw eggs and tomatoes at him. When Dr Niazi tried to board the Edhi ambulance, a lawyer seized him by the collar and dragged him into the vehicle, punching him repeatedly.

Police finally succeeded in pulling Dr Niazi out of the Edhi van and helped him board the Rescue-1122 van, which rushed him to the Services Hospital.

A source said they had to take Dr Niazi to Model Town police station instead of the Services Hospital because they were informed they might come up against lawyers there too.

From the police station, CCPO Malik Iqbal said Dr Niazi had to be taken to the Governor’s House. The police officer said that an FIR would be lodged after filing of an application by Dr Sher Afgan Niazi.

RESIGNATION: Mr Ahsan resigned as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association after failing in his effort to persuade lawyers to allow Dr Niazi a safe passage.

However, he said, the incident took place due to negligence of the police because his request for calling in more policemen had not been entertained.

He said he could not retain his office as the incident had badly damaged the drive for restoring the pre-emergency judiciary.

He said a group of lawyers was behind the whole incident and the bars concerned should take action against them.

Lahore Bar Association President Manzoor Qadir also announced resignation and termed the incident a conspiracy to sabotage the lawyers’ movement.