Archive for Lawyers

CMKP Condemns Failure to Restore Judiciary

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , on May 13, 2008 by Umer

It has now become blatantly clear that Zardari has completely failed the democratic movement. In exchange for the NRO, Zardari has agreed not to restore the pre-November 3nd judiciary and has de facto accepted General Pervaiz Musharraf as the President of Pakistan. This is a complete betrayal of the struggle against military rule that so many people, including the cadres of the PPP, fought for so valiantly.

Given the promises made by the government, we were willing to wait for the 30 day period. Following that period, we still waited till May 12th. However, it has now become absolutely clear that the current government does not wish to commit itself to a serious struggle against the military establishment. Every passing day plunges our country deeper into the crisis created by military rule. Every passing day brings only new resentment and disappointments.

Under these unfortunate circumstances, the breakup of the coalition has benefited Musharraf.  Neither the cause of the judiciary nor democracy has advanced as a consequence of the recent actions of mainstream parties. It is our understanding that Pakistan requires a mass based left party that upholds the interests of workers and peasants with complete integrity.

The current political leadership has proven to be deeply opportunistic and has failed the people. While we have absolutely nothing in common with pro-establishment and right-wing criticisms of mainstream parties, the CMKP unequivocally condemns the failure of the current government to restore the judiciary and realize the nations clear aspirations for democracy.

The CMKP will fully support the lawyers movement led by Aitzaz Ahsen, Ali Ahmed Kurd, and Munir A. Malik and uphold in letter and spirit the line of action decided by the Pakistan Representative Convention of Lawyers May 17th.

Restore the Judiciary Now
Down with Military Dictatorship
Long Live Democracy

Lenin and Pakistan 2008

Posted in Communist Movement, Marxism, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2008 by Umer

The Communists and the Lawyers’ Movement

by

Bhagat Singh

It is important to understand the nature and scope of the movement for the restoration of judiciary in the context of the stage of the revolutionary movement. The Marxian method of reasoning is based on analyzing the general case, and moving to the concrete case, and deducing general implications from the analysis. I would like to explain the general Leninist appreciation of the bourgeois democratic movement, and will then move on the specific case of the current movement of the judiciary.

In countries such as Pakistan, unlike Western European societies there have been no bourgeois democratic revolutions (such as the French revolution etc). In our part of the world, capitalism was introduced through colonization, by the British.

In our country therefore, the proletariat is faced with the dual task of participating in and completing the democratic revolution through an alliance of the poor peasantry and the proletariat (the demands of the poor peasantry being bourgeois democratic), and the proletariat can only then enhance the sweep of the revolutionary movement to lead the socialist revolution.

The first question to ask then is: What is the current movement all about? This movement is a movement against military dictatorship, and its proponents seek to restore constitutionalism in the country. The present movement is by its class essence a bourgeois democratic movement. With respect to the movement for constitutionalism in Russia, 1905, Comrade Lenin writes:

“Russia is experiencing a resurgence of the constitutional movement. Our generation has never witnessed anything like the present political ferment… Although the proletariat is taking a comparatively small part in the more spectacular and ceremonious manifestations of the liberal movement, although it seems to be standing somewhat aloof from the polite conferences of the solid citizens, everything points to the fact that the workers are keenly interested in the movement. Everything points to the fact that the workers are eager for big public meetings and open street demonstrations. The proletariat is holding itself back, as it were, carefully taking its bearings, gathering its forces, and deciding the question whether or not the moment for the decisive struggle for freedom has come.”

Comrade Lenin understands the class nature of constitutionalism as a movement of the bourgeoisie—i.e. as a bourgeois democratic movement. He further explains the tasks of the Communist Party in a movement for constitutionalism. He says:

“The proletariat must take advantage of the political situation, which is greatly in its favor. The proletariat must support the constitutional movement of the bourgeoisie; it must rouse and rally to its side the broadest possible sections of the exploited masses,
muster all its forces, and start an uprising at the moment when the government is in the most desperate straits and popular unrest is at its highest.”

Thus, we see that Comrade Lenin argues for an active participation in the bourgeoisies’ constitutional movement. Thus, the general theme to be drawn from this is: The Communist Party must and indeed should participate in a bourgeois democratic movement with all its might.

Let us now analyze the concrete case of Pakistan. Pakistan has a history of military dictators overturning, amending or suspending the constitution as and when they pleased. Since 1999, Pakistan’s constitution has been severely amended, held in abeyance and suspended twice.

The current movement for constitutionalism begins on the 9th of March, 2007 and is still an active force in the country. Let us first ask the question, “Who is leading the movement, what are their demands and who is this movement against?”

Who is leading the movement?

It is abundantly clear that the movement is being led by the lawyers of Pakistan. Russia in 1905 experiences a similar constitutionalist movement, in which the lawyers played an important role. Comrade Lenin says:

“All varieties of meetings of Zemstvo officials, doctors, lawyers, engineers, farmers, municipal councilors, etc., etc., are adopting resolutions more or less definitely demanding a constitution. Passionate appeals for liberty and political accusations of a boldness to which the Russian man in the street is unaccustomed can be heard at every turn. Under pressure of the workers and the radical youth, liberal gatherings are converted into open public meetings and street demonstrations. Undercurrents of discontent are manifestly stirring among wide sections of the proletariat, among the poor of town and country”

Furthermore, Comrade Lenin held the opinion that within the scope of the democratic movement, the most radical liberal and constitutionalist positions were taken by the “Union of Unions”, a political organization of liberal bourgeois intellectuals, founded in May 1905 at the first congress of representatives of 14 unions, including lawyers. He was of the view that the Communist Party must support all its demands, and must ensure active participation in the movement to enhance the sweep of their demands.

Thus: The current movement for the restoration of the judiciary is being LED by the lawyers. This is not to say that representatives of political parties are not participants in the movement. However, as with Engels’ positions on peace, this movement, i.e. the democratic movement must not be left for the bourgeoisie alone. The proletariat is the ONLY consistently democratic class, and its representatives, the Communist Party, must ensure that it not only participates in the movement but seeks to win its leadership.

What are their Demands?

The Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan summarized the demands as:

1- Restoration of the constitution to the pre-1999 stage
2- Restoration of the judges unconstitutionally removed by the
military chief, General Musharraf
3- Independence of judiciary as a pillar of the state

These are the three main demands being put forth by the proponents of this movement. All three demands are constitutionalist and bourgeois democratic in nature. However, as Comrade Lenin says “The struggle for a bourgeois republic and constitutionalism is only one of the many struggles that the proletariat must wage”.

Who is this movement against?

The movement is primarily against the military autocracy that has ruled Pakistan for much of its history. Any constitutionalist movement is aimed against groups/classes/individuals which seek their power from UNCONSTITUTIONAL means. In the context of Pakistan, this is the military rulers of Pakistan in general and Musharraf in particular.

To sum up therefore:

The movement for the restoration of the judiciary is a constitutionalist bourgeois democratic movement, led by the lawyers and seeks bourgeois democratic aims.

The Communist Party—the representative of the class interests of the proletariat—is duty bound to participate in this movement, while understanding its class nature and aims.

I hope this clarifies the Communist Workers and Peasants Party (CMKP) positions with respect to the current movement.

Festival of the oppressed: February 9th, 2008

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2008 by Umer

February 9th, 2008, was an important day for the lawyers’ movement and for the people of Pakistan. It was that day when the lawyers showed their resilience in the face of State repression on the streets of Islamabad. It was that day when the lawyers showed to the rest of the world that their movement will not fade away. It will stand to accomplish its objectives. It will stand for the rights of the people, for restoration of judiciary, for free and fair elections. The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) finds it to their honor to stand by the lawyers in their struggle for democracy and justice.

It started with the usual chill of the winter morning when a car rally organized by the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan left from the gates of Aitzaz Ahsan’s residence in Lahore. The organizers were kind enough to give space to some student-members of the CMKP for free. The long journey was made easy by discussions that ranged from anti-war movement in USA to political theories and the upcoming elections in Pakistan. We made short stays at the Bar Associations on our way as more lawyers and cars joined in. Ahmed Mukhtar, who is contesting elections from Pakistan People’s Party against Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s stalwart Shujat Hussain, hosted our lunch and briefed us about his preparations to tackle rigging of elections in his constituency. As we were getting late, we had to avoid more stops and rushed towards Islamabad.

Still we were not on time to attend the Pakistan Bar Council’s meeting at Islamabad. We drove to the Aitzaz Ahsan’s house where a group of lawyers was waiting for us, ready to march on to the residence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. As the demonstration started, members of CMKP from Rawalpindi/Islamabad arrived armed with large red flags marked with the hammer and sickle and a megaphone. Without wasting any moment, we ran towards the rally waving our flags, caught our breath, and started raising our slogans against the military rule.

The path to the Chief Justice’s house passes through an upward slope and a large contingent of Police was deployed there behind a barricade. As we approached the cordon, the first splash of water cannon was thrown our way. At first, there was a slight panic. The water cannon were being used for the first time and some people who were not expecting to face the strong pressure of water also fell on the road. The Government of Pakistan was trying to find proper use of fire brigade, which had failed miserably in dealing with a number of fires in the past, to defeat the political protests. However, it only dampened the protestors in the chilling cold – nothing more than that. Obviously, those who are willing to get their heads opened by stones in the course of struggle were not to be deterred by water. Soon there was a cry: “it’s only water”. Everyone moved forward facing the high pressure of water cannon. Some lawyers also started pelting stones to respond to State’s aggression. As I approached the barricade, all wet and damp, I found fellow CMKP members standing right on the barricade. Comrade A was standing with open arms challenging the water cannon while his back was being supported by Comrade F. The pressure of water was so high that even Comrade F slipped a few inches back to hold up Comrade A from falling back when faced with splashes.

The fire brigade failed miserably – again. They must have run out of water. The first shell of tear-gas was launched at the agitators. It was dreadful. I have been facing tear-gas since March last year and not that I can resist tear-gas (one of my friends who has been swimming since childhood can), I could see that this was not the ordinary one that we have been inhaling in Lahore. Old ladies, their commitment must be appreciated, who could not run fell down in the midst of the tear-gas attack and were helped out by young students. It was unbearable. As I ran back, my face and eyes were burning with stinging pain and there was a strong urge to vomit. With eyes half-closed and face coved by the wet flag, I ran back to the point where I could feel comfortable. It was quite a run.

Anyhow, I recovered in around five minutes and rushed to the front where an active fight was taking place between lawyers and Police. I immediately started looking for a stone and was lucky to have one delivered by the Police just few feet away from me. I happily returned it.

The lawyers were fighting with great energy and enthusiasm. They were chanting slogans against the Police and standing valiantly in the line of stone-fire. More tear-gas shells were fired, which were returned back by angry agitators who were wearing gloves to save their hands as they hold hot shells. Such daring was appreciated by loud cheers from the rest and boosted our spirits. Young girls were swearing at the dictator and throwing rocks at the Police. That was a place to be – all that I could have wished for. Now, I wish for more. But, I was joyful. Revolution is, after all, a festival of the oppressed.

In a middle of all this, a well-known senior lawyer positioned himself at higher spot, wanting to engage the crowd with his cold speech. That gentleman was keener to deliver a speech to the lawyers rather than leading them like other gallant senior lawyers, some of whom was arrested by the Police. People were not interested in words. They wanted action from their leaders. A young female lawyer asked the orator to step down (in no kind words) and to go where action is. That “leader” had to step down, but was nowhere to be seen at the front.

Another interesting bit was interaction with the management of Marriott Hotel that was on the street where the whole event was taking place. Some lawyers asked the Hotel management to provide them with water so that they can treat their burning eyes. The management plainly denied. The furious lawyers started throwing the tear-gas shells that could not be returned to the Police at Marriott. When the Police misfired a tear-gas shell into the Marriott, it was cheered by the protestors. Such was the anger against the apathetic management of the Hotel that found it better to serve their rich clients rather than those fighting for democracy in the streets. Such was the anger against the symbols of class oppression.

In the meanwhile, the protestors had divided in four groups: one in the middle, one on the right, and the third on the left. The fourth was at the back. The middle one was the bait for the Police. Attacks were launched from the left and the right. The group at the back only moved further back.

The Police, hitting their shields with their batons, moved further in offensive and the lawyers had the retreat. Some lawyers tried to make last attempts at attacking a police. A small group chanting Allah ho smashed themselves into the Policemen. All were arrested. It was interesting how the rich sufi tradition of the South Asia found itself in the movement for democracy and justice. The flank on the left was routed by Police into a street. One of my friends who were with that group evaded arrest by excusing that he was only there to pick up his sister from the protest. Many people from that faction were arrested by the Police.

Finally, the lawyers had to retreat into the Super Market with the chants of Allah ho. It was a good day. The lawyers engaged the Police for three hours in a fierce street battle and showed superb patience and valiance. The movement was shown to be alive and kicking.

Before I part with this report, there is a questions that erupted after the protest that I want to deal here. A good fellow questioned the utility of going these protests. His argument was that we should focus our energy in raising awareness elsewhere rather than attending public demonstrations. While I whole-heartedly agree with the idea that we must go to schools and colleges or, for that matter, everywhere we find a crowd to raise consciousness, we should not underestimate the potential of protests. People don’t learn merely through words. Had that been the case, the revolution would have occurred many years ago. People also learn from practical examples. We must show them and motivate them with our struggle in the street protests against the Military Dictatorship. As the Salvador Allende, the Marxist President of Chile, said in his last address to his people moments before he was murdered when fighting against military generals who instigated a coup against him: “I am sure my sacrifice will not be in vain; I am sure that it will at least be a moral lesson which will punish felony, cowardice and, treason.” When we attend the protest, we challenge apathy and cowardice. Not only we set an example for others, we educate ourselves with the lessons that can only be experienced from the streets and not the books.

Boycott of Elections?

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , on December 8, 2007 by Umer

Electoral boycott is usually effective when most of the political parties, who have effective street power, follow it. Otherwise, it can potentially isolate the the boycotter with the mobalization that is carried out for elections, which is the last thing that we will like to have in this country. That being said, there are good points on the side of pushing a boycott at the present moment. A boycott of elections, if followed popularly, can create a very difficult situation for the present regime which will get totally isolated from the people and major political parties. This isolation expressed politically can result in the death knell for the rule of Pervez Musharraf. The democratic movement will progress to another level where people will start seeking for an alternative with independence of judiciary and rule of law for the Federation. The Parties in parliament will loose all legitimacy and the line between forces in the struggle will be clearly defined.

However, this is big HOWEVER, what if things don’t turn out the way we want them to? While our principles are as solid as iron, our tactics must be fluid and flexible like water. While our “Plan A” is to boycott elections with full force and convince political organizations to do that too, we must also have a “Plan B” for the not-so-desirable situation, if we don’t want to land in wilderness. The essence of “Plan B” is simply to recognize elections as a tool for promotion of lawyers movement and for bringing to light the undesirable elements in our polity. The Plan B is to understand that we must try to exhaust all instruments that we have at our disposal. This is what I want to point here. Aitzaz Ahsan, in his letter to legal community, has provided some very good suggestion for the Plan B. These tactics can help us steer the people of our nation through some essential political experience, which is a great teacher.

Shackles

Posted in Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art with tags , , on November 10, 2007 by Umer

A very beautiful poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz relevant to the recent arrest-spree carried out by the Pakistani State. I dedicate it to all those who have been sent behind bars:

Shackles on your feet
by

Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Translated by Poorvi Vora
Wet eyes and a crazed will are not enough;
Nor are accusations of a furtive love;
Stride in the bazaar today, shackles on your feet.
Stride with arms spread open and in wild abandon;
Stride with dust-covered hair and blood-stained shirt;
Stride, all the beloved city watches the road.
The official and the commoner;
Sad mornings and barren days;
Arrows of slander and stones of insult.
Who but we can be their companion?
Who in the beloved town remains free of guilt?
Who remains worthy of the killer’s hand?
Broken-hearted ones, prepare to leave;
Let us stride to meet our death today.

Silence before the Storm

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on November 6, 2007 by Umer

The third day of Emergency, or what should be honestly termed as Martial Law, remained passive at Lahore. The reason for such silence was clear: almost all the active lawyers were arrested yesterday, on 5th of November, in a massive crack-down at the Lahore High Court. They are still detained along with their leadership, and the most active amongst them, more than 300, are expected to face charges under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Others will not be able to find an easy way out. According to the laws amended in the course of Emergency, any person can be detained by the Police authorities for three months without any trial or presentation before the magistrate under the amended Maintenance of Public Order Act, one of the most notorious laws of our colonial past.

I received a call early in the morning from a lawyer warning me to stay away from the High Court building and the Mall Road for today. I complied, as I also wanted to hold some discussions with some contacts. One of my friends, who unsuccessfully tried to enter the High Court building from all four gates early in the morning, informed that the Police was arresting every lawyer that showed up at the Court entrances. They were arrested even before they entered the building. According to some sources, few lawyers approached the courts in order to seek bails for those detained on Monday. They were also arrested.

While the streets of Lahore remained calm, there was also some good news. All the people who were arrested by the Police on Sunday from the HRCP building – including Dr. Ali Cheema and Mr. Bilal Minto, both members of LUMS faculty – were finally released on bail late in the evening after two and half days of detention. However, the criminal charges brought against them have not been dropped.

The students of LUMS, who received a lot of media attention due to their activism on Monday, celebrated the release of their heroes with enthusiasm. They remained in high spirits through out the day and resolved to continue their struggle for democracy and social justice.

From where I see, everyone who is enraged by General Musharraf’s actions will have to take a step back, recompose, and rehash their strategy for the future. People are realizing that they are up for a long fight against a force that will not think twice before using brute force. Any agitation that takes place in a disorganized fashion can be easily crushed.

During the Lahore High Court protests, the lawyers were not expecting the whole building to be swarmed by Policemen. The lawyers were asking us, the students, to stay at the rear of the demonstration to ensure our safety. They later had to realize that no place was safe from Police brutality. The Police action took place with such rapidity (it took less than 30 minutes to arrest all the agitators) because there was no plan of action for retreat. People ran in random directions to protect themselves from the Police. Even the leadership, that should have been guarded, could not evade arrests.

In my view, therefore, the democratic forces will have to reconstruct their plan of action so that massive arrests do not dent the progress of our revolutionary struggle for democracy. Other sections of the society – particularly workers, peasants, and students – will have to be included in the movement for a meaningful result. So far, there has been no noticeable contribution made by the non-lawyers. That will have to change. To change that all those who are outside the lock-ups should exhaust their energies in motivating the ‘common man’ to join the democratic movement. These moments of silence and reflection are the most favorable to encourage more people to join the struggle.

The movement is on. To ensure that it does not fade away, arm yourselves for the second wave.

Today, at the Lahore High Court

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2007 by Umer

Today, I was witness to the worst of the State brutality. With every passing day, it is getting clearer what the present regime is about – naked tyranny. It is not that I have not seen any State repression before. I was there in the High Court on 17th of March when the building was surrounded by the Police, and the lawyers were disallowed from leaving the premises of the Court. We were practically detained in the High Court. At that day, the news was about the Police firing tear gas shells from the outside and entering few feet from the gate into the High Court premises. Everywhere people were talking about how the Police had violated the sanctity of the Courts. The popular reaction was understandable – the event was unprecedented. But, if I compare what happened today with what I saw eight months back, I can say without a moment’s pause that 17th March was nothing compared to what took place today on 5th of November.

While driving to the Lahore High Court with a fellow member of the Communist Workers and Peasants Party (CMKP) and few students from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the lack of Policemen stationed on the Mall Road was conspicuous. During every visit to the Lawyers’ protests, during the movement for the re-instatement of Chief Justice of Pakistan, there used to be a massive number of Policemen deployed on both sides of the Mall Road.

‘What are they thinking to do’, we were all discussing that while we walking towards the High Court building after parking our car at a safe distance. My estimate was that something on the lines of 17th March event will take place. I was very wrong. That I knew as soon as we entered the Court building after going through a cursory security-check. There were a huge number of Policemen deployed inside the High Court. It was blatant that today the pitched battles between lawyers and Policemen will take place inside the Court building. Still, we were not able to grasp what their plans were, which we soon found out.

In the courtyard of the High Court, surrounded by Karachi Hall, a Bar room, a Dispensary, and a Canteen, the lawyers had gathered and were chanting slogans against the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), the Emergency, the Martial Law, and the judges who had taken oath under the PCO. There was no noticeable presence from any political party. I found a group of faculty members and fellow university students with whom I had made the plan to attend the rally last night. We were around 30 to 35 and almost everyone had an idea about the risk involved in being present in the High Court. We knew that some of us will certainly be arrested, and everyone will have to smell the tear gar, taste salt, and cry. Nevertheless, we also knew how important it is to be present in the struggle for democracy and social justice.

The Lawyers’ convention started at around 10.30 a.m. at the Karachi Hall. We all gathered there with Lawyers to listen to the speeches made by the officials of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA). The mood was full of enthusiasm, despite the gravity of the situation. Every now and then, the Lawyers raised slogans against General Musharraf and Emergency. The speakers made passionate speeches in favor of democratic action and struggle against the military dictatorship.

After listening to few speeches, I returned to the courtyard where I found two other members of the CMKP, both of them were not students. I also met few other acquaintances amongst the lawyers. Many came up to us to appreciate our presence at the Lahore High Court, and advised us to avoid arrests. ‘Go and spread the word, there are enough to get arrested’, one said.

The members of the Lahore Bar Association had arrived, and everyone was awaiting the call of the LHCBA. It soon came. We will march towards the gate of the Lahore High Court that opened on Mall Road near the General Post Office. As we walked towards the gate everyone was getting their handkerchiefs wet, as covering your face with a wet cloth is an effective way to repel the effects of the tear gas. I also got a piece of cloth from a fellow student, damped it, and joined the protest. I was somewhere in the middle demonstration, trying my best to get to a spot where I can see what is happening at the gate.

Some lawyers were trying to open the gate that was closed by the Police. As the pressure built around the gate, the first tear-gas shell was fired. Everyone covered their face and retreated. Lawyers are not so easily intimidated. They halted, and so did we. More shells were fired and we had to retreat to the parking lot near the Bar room, where some Policemen were stationed to ensure that the lawyers don’t get to the judges’ offices.

The lawyers, enraged and furious, pelted stones at the windows close to the Policemen. Some even got in front of the Policemen and pushed them. When a Policeman raised his baton, they retreated only to throw stones at them from a safe distance. That forced the Police to take few steps back, but they returned – in a larger number.

This time they were furious. They were accompanied with some plain clothes men, who I noticed were much more active in throwing stones at the protestors. We all started moving towards the Bar room when, I saw two tear gar shells thrown towards the protestors. Knowing that we are not in a very open space with walls on both sides and dense leafy branches of an old tree above us, the shells were expected to hurt badly. The shells did hurt severely, even though one of them was hurled back at the Police by a courageous lawyer. Almost everyone around me had his face covered with the wet cloth, and were moving into the Bar room, the other door of which opened to the courtyard. I also got my face covered as the pain was unbearable and followed the rest into the Bar room.

In the Bar room, there were easily more than 150 people clustered, all victimized by the tear gas. They were treated their throats affected by the tear gas with the help of salt. We, students, immediately started counting ourselves. Two of CMKP members were not there, along with two students from LUMS.

Before we could call our friends up and get their know-how, the Policemen approached the door of the Bar room from which we had entered from the parking. As the Policemen got to the glass door, a staff-member of the Bar locked it. Without any pause, the Policemen hurled their big boots at the door. The glass door, weak and old, could not take it long. Everyone in the room was rushing through the one and half meter wide door that opened to the courtyard. I was almost at the end of the crowd, trying to make my way through. As I was leaving the Bar room, I looked back to witness a spectacle of valiance. The Policemen had almost smashed the door, but three lawyers were still standing, throwing chairs at the door to block way of the Police. Had those lawyers not been there, several who were the last ones to leave the Bar rooms, like me, would have received a sound beating.

Entering the courtyard, I saw one person standing in the front of a corridor calling up the people. Everyone followed the call, only to realize that there is Police on the other end of the corridor. Stuck in the middle, we halted. While we were thinking about our possible courses of actions, getting arrested being a major one, a very senior lawyer, who was the patron of LUMS Law programme approached and led us into the Dispensary.

The Dispensary had a glass front towards the courtyard, with two or three rooms for patients. Many of us recomposed ourselves, got information about our friends who were safe till then, and informed our contacts outside about the situation in the High Court. While we were doing that, we witness how the Police stormed into the courtyard and started with arrests. They went to every room one by one and arrested everyone, beating them up while taking them to the Police vans. Uncertain about our own fates, but all mentally ready to get arrested peacefully if the push comes to shove, we saw how the Police was rounding everybody up. We did not know if friends who were not with us at the Dispensary were safe anymore. It had only been thirty minutes since the call was given by the LHCBA to march towards the Mall Road gate.

One by one, all rooms were emptied. Only Dispensary was left. As the Police approached the door of the Dispensary, all of us huddled in the two rooms that were usually used for the patients. ‘I will try my best to save you students from arrest,’ assured the senior lawyer who had led us to the Dispensary. He went to the Dispensary door to negotiate on our behalf, and was arrested. Then the Police asked the people in the other room to give arrests without any protests, they did. And then we also peacefully gave our arrests with our hand up, as the Police had ordered.

While walking out of the Dispensary, one of our faculty members started shouting ‘we are students’ to garner attention of the media present there to stay safe from any off-handed behavior from the Policemen. The Police, seeing the media around, asked us to put our hands down. We were led to the gate towards the Mall road, the same one towards which we were asked to march earlier in the day.

At the gate, we were asked to gather on one side. I tried my best to get some information about the two non-students members of the CMKP, as they were no where to be seen. My estimate was they must have been arrested. We were asked or ordered, to put it more correctly, by the Police to stay at the side of gate, and were assured that we will not be arrested. A number of media reporters come up to us to know what we were doing at the High Court. The lawyers were lined up at the gate and were being packed into Police vans to be sent to distant police stations. The information about the two non-student CMKP members also came. They were safe and had escaped arrests by jumping over the boundary wall of the Court. That was a relief. Soon afterwards, we were all allowed to leave and that marked the end of our eventful stay at the High Court.

There are some important lessons that I learnt today after seeing what I have written above. To expect mercy or justice from the present military regime is simply ridiculous. This is State built on the blood of millions of toiling masses. It rests on tyranny and brute force. It is alien to the worries of the countless people, who work days and nights only to be exploited by the powerful few. It only serves its own interests, and that is to maintain and reinforce the present system of exploitation and repression at the behest of their Imperialist masters. Not even its own professed rules can come in its way. They have no regard for justice and no respect for the people. Such a regime deserves only one response – strong condemnation.

Some readers might find the massive crack-down at the Lahore High Court to be demoralizing. However, taken in the right perspective, it is not. After a long dark night of passivity during the rule of injustice, there is ray of hope. Some have decided to take a stand against military dictatorship despite all odds. More will follow. Don’t be impatient. Don’t loose hope. There will soon be an era when the people will do away with all forms of exploitation and despotism, when justice and truth will be respected, when the people will rule, and when the democracy will be our constitution.

Till then, struggle, struggle, and struggle.

Power to the people!