February 22, 2018
Amid widespread protests in Gilgit-Baltistan and parts of Pakistan, advocate Ehsan Ali, the detained President of Supreme Court Bar Association and founding leader of Awami Action Committee, was released from jail by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) here on Monday.
Accepting Ehsan Advocate’s bail application, the ATC Judge, Raja Shahbaz, ordered the release of the lawyer leader whose arrest over sharing of a post on Facebook had triggered national and international outcry.
Awami Workers Party, several leftist groups, and lawyers community of Gilgit-Baltistan had been protesting for the last week against the detention of Advocate Ehsan Ali.
A protest was held at Skardu on February 14 against the illegal detention of Advocate Ehsan Ali. The protest was jointly organised by Baltistan Student Federation (BSF), Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) and Gilgit-Baltistan Youth Alliance (GBYA).
The protesters stated that the allegations are concocted and were registered with the intention of persecuting Ehsan Ali for his political activism.
Advocate Ehsan Ali, who was also the former head of Awami Action Committee (ACC) was arrested on February 12 on the charge of re-sharing an allegedly ‘Anti-Religion” post on social media.
February 20, 2018
Lahore High Court Bar Association-Multan bench president Sher Zaman Qureshi, who had refused to appear before former chief justice of the Lahore High Court in a contempt case against him, finally turned up before a full bench led by new Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali.
A bench headed by former chief justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah issued a notice to Sher Zaman under contempt of court charge last year but he never appeared. During his Monday’s appearance before the newly-constituted bench, Mr Qureshi told Chief Justice Yawar Ali that he had a great respect for the courts and never thought of disrespecting them. He also submitted his written reply before the bench. The bench reserved the verdict on the contempt proceedings.
The former chief justice had initiated contempt proceedings against Qureshi and another lawyer for misbehaving a judge at Multan seat. The bench headed by the former chief justice had also issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Qureshi, however, withdrew the same after some senior bar’s leaders promised to make him produce before the court. However, Mr Qureshi refused to appear before the high court, however, made his appearance before Supreme Court when Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the contempt proceedings on his personal appeal.
February 17, 2018
Lawyers in Gilgit on Friday took to the streets against registration of a case against Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association President Ehsan Ali Advocate.
The lawyers threatened to expand their protest across the region and boycott court proceedings if their leader was not released forthwith.
Ehsan Ali was arrested on the night between Sunday and Monday from his home in Jutial Gilgit as he was wanted by police in an FIR registered against him on Jan 8 for sharing a post on Facebook which allegedly hurt religious sentiments of people.
On Monday, the Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Raja Shahbaz Khan had sent him on judicial remand till Feb 26.
The protest call was given by GB Chief Court Bar Association, district bars, and young lawyers association.
A large number of lawyers gathered outside of the GB Chief Court building in Gilgit and demonstrated against detention of their leader under ATA.
February 16, 2018
Our newest update on Ahmed’s blasphemy case brings somber news. Last Friday, Ahmed’s lawyer, Rizvam, was attacked by the prosecuting attorney.
A Brawl in Court
“The prosecuting attorney didn’t just make verbal statements against what the defense attorney was saying, he actually came to blows against the defense attorney,” FMI‘s Bruce Allen reports.
“He beat him in the courtroom so much so that other lawyers present had to break up the fight and Rizvam had to go to the hospital. His left eye was severely injured, as was his nose. He has not lost vision in the eye, but he has lost use of it temporarily. His eyes are still under wraps.”
Rizvam has since been released from the hospital. This situation isn’t uncommon in Pakistani courtrooms. In fact, some situations have become so extreme that people have been murdered in the very court where justice was supposed to be sought.
And when Rizvam was attacked, the judge hearing the blasphemy case turned a blind eye and walked out of the courtroom. When the judge did this, Allen says it was a way of giving silent consent for the attack to continue.
February 13, 2018
An Anti-Terrorism court in Gilgit has sent the President of Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association, Advocate Ehsan Ali, for judicial remand until February 26 for a facebook post he had made.
The detention comes after an FIR was registered against the progressive human rights lawyer for sharing ‘derogatory content’ on social networking website Facebook.
The content in question had been a photograph related to the anti-government protests in Iran, along with an explanatory note, describing the rationale behind him sharing the post. Advocate Ehsan had come under fire immediately afterwards, as he was accused of sectarian hate speech and inciting violence between the different religious communities of the area.
Since then, the prominent lawyer has removed the content, and has apologised to the people who found the post derogatory, and whose sentiments were hurt. He later met prominent clerics in the region to explain his position and seek forgiveness.
February 11, 2018
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that democracy, progress and public security in the crisis-hit Maldives are in a fragile state and called on the government to revert back to the law.
In a statement last week, Annan raised concerns over the actions of President Abdulla Yameen’s regime regarding independent institutions, which he claimed were in violation of the spirit of democracy.
Annan also expressed alarm over the government’s refusal to comply with the Supreme Court’s shock ruling on February 1, in which the five justices had unanimously ordered the release of nine prominent political leaders including former exiled president Mohamed Nasheed, en.mihaaru.com reported.
Annan urged the Maldivian government to stop intimidating judges and to execute the top court’s verdict to free the politicians and lift the ongoing state of emergency.
He further said that the presidential elections slated for this year “must be held with the participation of independent institutions”.
“The world must not remain complacent in this issue,” the former UN chief said.
Patience is key
February 9, 2018
A group of lawyers staged a protestdemonstration here on Friday condemning the armed attack on an Additional District and Session Judge in Khairpur district the other day.
The lawyers including advocate Sajjad Ahmed Chandio, Aslam Laghari, Geet Kumar and others while condemning the incident demanded immediate arrest of the attackers and exposing the cause of the attack.
They expressed solidarity with the judge Ghulam AliKanasro and lamented that the police could still not arrest the culprits.Chandio informed that some armed assailants attacked the residence of Kanasro in Sobho Dero and escaped.