The criminal behavior of the lawyers in Lahore has shocked the nation and the world. They not only kidnapped and injured former federal minister Dr. Sher Afghan Niazi but they threw rocks and flattened the tires of the ambulance that was taking him to the hospital for treatment. Mr. Aitezaz Ahsan, the leader of the lawyers movement, has resigned from his position as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

While some may be tempted to call it an isolated incident, the facts indicate otherwise. Several months ago, similar violence was perpetrated by lawyers outside the Supreme Court building against a few people carrying pro-Musharraf signs in the midst of a sea of black coats opposed to Musharraf's unlawful actions against the judiciary. Dr. Farooq Sattar and Senator Tariq Azim were also subjected to violence and needed hospitalization.

The shameful behavior of the lawyers makes a mockery of their claim that their movement is aimed at restoring "democracy" and "rule of law". It also raises questions about the readiness of Pakistani civil society to govern itself in a democratic manner. The conspiracy theories and the claims of "invisible hand" will not satisfy those of us looking for the facts. Unless there is full, impartial and apolitical investigation of this incident, this incident will be seen as part of a pattern of violence that has characterized the entire lawyers movement supported by politicians now in charge after the elections.

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Comment by khalid Hassan on April 9, 2008 at 5:10pm
As said, the whole incident was another example of the sorry & disappointing situation of our entire judiciary & law & order system. Although the situation could have been less ironic and more interesting if the victim was Wasi Zafar rather then Mr. Afgan. Mr. Aitezaz Ehsan's resignation is at least a good sign in this whole freak show which is quite unusual (in our political culture) that people would accept the responsibility & step down (at least he is smart enough to realize that it would cost him more to stay then resign).
Comment by Riaz Haq on April 9, 2008 at 9:55pm
While there was no expectation from the politicians to be truthful and take responsibility for lawyers violence, it was a pleasant surprise to see Mr. Aitazaz Ahsan show a sense of responsibility by resigning. However, barely 24 hours after the resignation, Mr. Ahsan has started to backtrack and use "conspiracy theories" and "invisible hands" and place the blame on his favorite target: President Musharraf.
According to the BBC, "a top Pakistani lawyer (Mr. Ahsan) has condemned President Musharraf following the attack on Mr Niazi on Tuesday. On Wednesday, at a press conference in Karachi he played down talk of resignation and instead called on President Musharraf to go."
Knowing the popularity and power of Sharif Brothers in Lahore, is it possible that this could have happened without a tacit approval by PML(N)? I doubt it. Have either of the brothers come out to unequivocally condemn the actions of the lawless lawyers? Not to my knowledge. Instead, they seem to be making lame excuses for what happened


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