We are cross-posting from the CriticalPPP blog:
Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Justice Khawaja Sharif, has spoken once again, with the hate speech and prejudice which are his usual characteristics. Justice Sharif is notorious for his unflinching support for PML-N and Taliban and for his hostility towards liberal and secular sections of Pakistani society.
His latest remarks against our Hindu brothers and sisters are tantamount to hate speech, and are clearly in violation of the constitution of Pakistan which guarantees equality to all Pakistani irrespective of their race or religion.
It may be recalled that brainwashed by hate mongers such as Khawaja Sharif, terrorists and extremists in Pakistan have in the past attacked and killed or injured scores of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Ahmadis, Shias etc.
We urge Pakistan’s civil society to protest against the said remarks by Justice Khawaja Sharif. Justice Sharif must be called by a standing committee of the parliament to explain his position on this subject. The lawyer community must also lodge a legal case for the formal disqualification and dismissal of Khawaja Sharif from the esteemed post (CJ LHC) that he is undeservedly holding.
The issue is already under discussion in the National Assembly. According to Saeed Minhas:
.. a minority representative from PPP benches and others objected to a political comment by Lahore High Court’s ‘My Lord’. Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif was reportedly commenting on the involvement of minorities in bombings across the country. Minority members from the ANP, PPP and the PML-N staged a token walkout to register their protest, and asked My Lord to clarify or apologise to patriotic minorities of the country.
According to another news item in Daily Times:
LHC CJ’s remarks irk NA members
ISLAMABAD: A reported statement by Lahore High Court Chief Justice (CJ) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif that the Hindu community was funding terrorism in Pakistan, irked members of the National Assembly, as many of whom joined minority members and walked out in protest. The lawmakers also demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry take suo motu notice of the CJ’s remarks. Ramesh Lal, a minority lawmaker from the Pakistan People’s Party, raised the issue on a point of order and censured the CJ’s remarks, saying the Hindu community in Pakistan was as patriotic as the rest of the country and the remarks were highly uncalled for. Lal announced a token walkout and was joined by a few other members belonging to different parties, including the Awami National Party. He said the remarks hurt the over three million Hindus in Pakistan, adding the statement was against national unity. Labour and Manpower Minister Khursheed Shah tried to defend the CJ, saying he could not have made such a statement and might have referred to India and not the Hindu community. staff report Source: Daily Times
Mohammad Malick too has taken note of Justice Sharif’’s irresponsible statement in his op-ed in The News:
Of moneyed Hindus, Nawab sahib’s deadly post master & next finance minister
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By By Mohammad Malick
ISLAMABAD: On Monday, Shahbaz Sharif’s arguably controversial remarks pertaining to the Taliban sparing Punjab provided fodder for animated discussion in the House. On Tuesday, the parliamentary anger mills were fed by another Sharif. This time, no less than the honourable Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Khwaja Mohammad Sharif.
His remark about “Hindus” giving money and the Muslim militants using it to carry out terrorist activities while hearing a case made the Hindu and other minority parliamentarians cry out an anguished Hi Bhagwan and led to what must be the first ever parliamentary boycott of a sitting chief justice of a high court.
We have seen a lot of strange things happen in our exceptionally colourful chequered political history but never before a walkout of such a nature. In a desperate bid to do some instant damage control, a rather unconvincing Syed Khurshid Shah wanted the House to believe that the honourable CJ must have meant to say “Hindustan and not just Hindu”, adding: “It was apparently a slip of tongue.” But Ramesh Laal wasn’t buying and making a speech before his protest walkout said that the honourable chief justice should have talked about a country but not about a religion. On hearing this one of the chaps sitting in the press gallery quipped: “If nothing else, a judge must be able to judge his own words.”
A tad harsh assessment but not altogether without merit. It wasn’t as if Muslim MNAs weren’t in a supporting mood for their minority colleagues. Rasheed Akbar Niwani of the PML-N wanted the judges to “speak through judgements and not otherwise”, while Munawar Talpur apologised to the Hindu MNAs whom he described as “as good a Pakistani as anyone else”.
It is inconceivable that the honourable chief justice would deliberately want to hurt the feelings of the hundreds of thousands of Hindu Pakistanis but still, exceptional care must be exhibited by men of stature, particularly those whose word is literally the law, to avoid strengthening any negative stereotyping of religious and ethnic minority groups in particular.
Finally, this report by Raja Asghar in Dawn:
A judge is judged in NA, with walkout
By Raja Asghar
Wednesday, 17 Mar, 2010
ISLAMABAD, March 16: It was a rare, judge’s turn to be judged in the National Assembly on Tuesday as Hindu members staged a walkout to protest at reported remarks by the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice alleging Hindu financing of terror attacks in the country.
Some members of the Awami National Party too joined the first walkout against the judiciary in Pakistan’s parliament before the protesters were brought back to hear words of sympathy for the injured sentiments and some advice for judges to focus on delivering justice rather than publicity despite a government minister’s statement that the remark by Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif while hearing a case in Lahore on Thursday seemed to be “a slip of the tongue”.
The protest was the second raised in the house over press reports in as many days after sharp criticism of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over his appeal to Taliban in a speech to a seminar in Lahore on Sunday to spare his province terror attacks because of some shared views with his PML-N party.
PPP’s Hindu member Romesh Lal, who raised the issue, said sentiments of an estimated four million Pakistani Hindus had been injured by the LHC chief justice’s remarks, as reported in a section of the press, that while terrorist bomb blasts were being carried out by Muslims, “money used for this came from Hindus”.
The member said if a country was suspected of sponsoring such attacks it should be named, but blame should not be put on just Hindus who, he said, were as good patriots as other Pakistanis.
While drawing attention of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to what he called worry caused to Hindus, he appealed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of Justice Sharif’s remarks.
As Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani and some other members of the ruling PPP went out of the chamber to persuade the protesters to return, party chief whip and Labour and Manpower Minister Khurshid Ahmed Shah told the house the judge seemed to be blaming India for financing the Taliban rather Hindus, adding he was sure a clarification would come “by tomorrow”.
PML-N’s Rashid Akbar Niwani said judges should devote to dispensation of justice instead of seeking publicity as he also advised the media to exercise “restraint”, particularly blasting unspecified television anchorpersons who, he said, should also be held accountable for their earnings together with “heads of (government) institutions” as often-maligned elected politicians.