Police in Pakistan’s Lahore city stormed a convention of lawyers on Saturday and arrested several of them, according to latest reports.
“Lawyers attending the meet were brutally beaten up and lawyers in the High Court struck back with stones. Lawyers in business suits poured out of the meeting and hurled stones at police who threw them back. Police chasing stone-throwers ransacked nearby offices, witnesses said.
“The High Court has now been sealed. The violent standoff began after President Pervez Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhry of Pakistan’s Supreme Court on March 9.”
There is yet another crisis as no lawyer is willing to represent Pakistan government in judgeâ€™s case. The government is unable to find a lawyer of any standing to represent it before the supreme judicial council in the reference against the chief justice, says DNA.
“Bar councils and bar associations throughout the country are quick to suspend the memberships of lawyers perceived to be associated with the government in this crisis. All this, in support of a chief justice who was no oneâ€™s favourite, in fact, against whom lawyers had grievances regarding his behaviour in court.
“Furious, and unanimous in their condemnation of the attempt to sack the chief justice, lawyers see this as a reprehensible step by a general-sitting-as-president to rob the judiciary of what is left of its independence.
“The manner in which the chief justice was ‘summoned’ by the president and kept waiting for hours at his camp office; the haste with which Justice Javed Iqbal was sworn in as acting chief justice without waiting for Rana Bhagwandas, the senior most judge, to return from his leave; the detention and holding incommunicado the ‘suspended’ chief justice; his manhandling by the police; the baton charge and pelting of lawyers taking out a procession in Lahore; preventing lawyers from entering Islamabad to protest outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday; taking independent TV channels off air to stop them from reporting. All this can not merely be the result of incompetent advice because no one can be that consistently and perpetually incompetent.”
Now the typical bluff and bluster Musharraf game begins. After bashing up the media organisations black and blue, the General orders a ‘judicial enquiry’, suspends 14 policeman, lifts restrictions imposed on the movement of the battered and bruised chief justice…the list goes on. But is he fooling the world or himself?
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.