SCBA Denounces Arrest Of Latif Khosa, Salman Akram Raja

Lawyer's body demands immediate release of lawyers, expresses concern over the recent trend of targeting and arresting members of the legal fraternity

SCBA Denounces Arrest Of Latif Khosa, Salman Akram Raja

Senior lawyers aligned with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), including former Punjab governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Salman Akram Raja, Mumtaz Mustafa, and numerous other lawyers, were arrested and detained Sunday for peacefully protesting the alleged electoral malpractices in the February 8 general elections.

The Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) strongly condemned and vehemently denounced the arrests. 

Khosa and Raja, were leading a peaceful rally against alleged manipulation in the elections in Lahore on Sunday along with PTI-linked Punjab Assembly Members Hafiz Farhat Abbasi and Mian Haroon Akbar. The rally was part of a nationwide protest against alleged election irregularities on the call of the PTI.

Khosa's son, Shahbaz, claimed that police broke up their protest and arrested the senior lawyer along with Raja, Abbasi and Mustafa. PTI leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed's son was arrested at a similar rally in Lahore's Shadman.

In Multan, senior politician Javed Hashmi's son-in-law and nephew were arrested.

In the wake of the arrests, SCBAP President Shahzad Shaukat, Secretary Syed Ali Imran and the 26th Executive Committee of SCBAP condemned the police action. 

The SCBAP said they had received similar reports of several other lawyers being taken into custody while peacefully protesting from every nook and corner of the country. 

The SCBAP demanded the immediate release of all the arrested lawyers, including Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Salman Akram Raja and Mumtaz Mustafa.

While demanding the immediate release of all arrested lawyers, the SCBAP president and the secretary said that as senior advocates of the Supreme Court and life members of this Association, the arrest of Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Salman Akram Raja, and Mumtaz Mustafa is viewed with grave concern. 

"All of them have always represented the highest standards in the legal profession," the SCBAP maintained. 

Expressing his utter discontentment, President Shahzad Shaukat stated that it is common knowledge that the SCBAP has always advocated for upholding the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, particularly the importance of adhering to Article 4, read in with Articles 10, 10-A, 15, and 16, which guarantees the right to peaceful protest and assembly, among other fundamental rights.

Shaukat further lambasted that despite the association calling upon the authorities on numerous occasions to respect the legal and democratic rights of citizens, including lawyers, the recent trend of targeting and arresting members of the legal fraternity is alarming.

"It reflects a blatant disregard for constitutional rights, rampant lawlessness, and an abuse of power," the statement said.

Furthermore, to address the escalating aggression against the legal community, the SCBAP has decided to summon an emergency meeting of its executive committee to chart a course of action.

Let no one be mistaken: SCBAP reiterates its commitment to defending the rights of lawyers and upholding fundamental rights, democratic principles, protection of human rights and the rule of law.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain