'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
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Sunday, July 22, 2012
Pakistan: Asma Jahangir denounces SC Bar Association notice to DAG for cleaning shoes in Gurudwara
PESHAWAR: The former president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir has denounced the SCBA for issuing a show cause notice to the Deputy Attorney General Khurshid Khan for allegedly defaming Pakistan in India.
Khurshid was served a show cause notice for allegedly defaming the country after he was found polishing shoes outside places of worship in India. Khurshid had been accompanying a 200-member delegation visiting India in March this year. On July 14, the notice was issued by SCBA’s President Yaseem Azad. Asma Jahangir toldThe Express Tribunethat she neither condemned nor appreciated the act of polishing shoes outside places of worship, but the she condemned serving Khurshid with a show cause notice by the SCBA. "This is the Pakistan Bar Council, the supreme body, to issue the notice and not the SCBA,” Jahangir said adding notices should have been issued to those who failed to reach to official functions and meetings in time. “The notice has been issued in a manner that is bigotry. Why did they (SCBA) not issue notices to those who scuffled over choosing which vehicle to travel in inside India,” Jahangir said, questioning the decision and that some members of the delegation who had fought over which vehicle to travel in that had defamed the country, not Khurshid’s act of polishing shoes outside worship places.
DAG Khurshid Khan performed a deed which only a handful of politicians would contemplate doing: Polishing shoes, sweeping floors and washing dishes to promote interfaith harmony at the Jamia Masjid in Chandigarh, the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Birla Temple in New Delhi.
A delegation of 200 members of the SCBA, including President Yasin Azad, Muneer A Malik, Tariq Mahmood, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Asma Jahangir, along with present and former office bearers of bar associations and DAG Khan visited India in March to interact with lawyers from across the border. The visit was meant to enable interaction with the legal fraternity of India and to establish contacts amongst the legal communities of the neighbouring countries. SCBA President Azad made it clear that Khurshid ‘defamed’ Pakistan by polishing shoes outside the places of worship. “Although it was the government’s duty to issue him the show cause notice, as he is a serving deputy attorney general, we have issued it instead,” he toldThe Express Tribune. “Khurshid told us that he did this to be pardoned for all the sins he has committed in his life,” Azad claimed, adding that he should have done it in a more respectable way. When contacted, Khurshid toldThe Express Tribunethat he was waiting to receive the show cause notice and was prepared to reply to it, adding that since he is the DAG, the attorney general was supposed to issue the notice. He questioned the basis on which the show cause notice was issued. “Have I been charged for violating an Indian law? There was no code of conduct we were told to follow.” Khurshid stated that he was bestowed the status of a State Guest by Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Parkash Singh Badal and that his mission was to convey a better image of Pakistanis in general and Pakhtuns in particular. “What is constituted as defaming the country, Ajmal Kasab’s alleged killing of Indians or a Pakistani polishing the shoes of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians outside their places of worship,” he questioned. http://tribune.com.pk/story/408516/pakistans-sevadar-dag-issued-notice-for-polishing-shoes-in-india/
NB - Khurshid Khan, an eminent 60-year-old lawyer and deputy attorney general of Pakistan, wants to "heal the wounds" of the terror-stricken minority Sikh community in that country. So he does an extraordinary thing at a temple in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Every day, once he's handled his work as a legal expert, Khan visits a Sikh temple in the center of the city, wraps a piece of cloth around his head to show his respect, and sits in the doorway to shine the shoes of Sikhs, whose community has come under frequent attack by Taliban militants. Two months back, militants in Khyber Agency abducted three Sikhs and demanded a huge ransom for their release. Two were eventually freed. But one, Jispal Singh, was killed in brutal fashion and his corpse left on the roadside in the tribal area. "I went to offer my condolences to the family of Jispal Singh and that was a turning point in my life," Khan tells RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal. "I realized that as a Pashtun I should work to 'heal their wounds' by becoming their sewadar (servant). I want to give them a message of love and brotherhood, and that's why every day I am here to shine their shoes."Khan says he is himself a landlord and doesn't even shine his own shoes at home. But his cause inspires him to sit on the ground on a daily basis and shine 70 to 80 pairs of shoes. "I can see the light of love in their eyes for me and my people," he maintains. He adds that Sikhs have lived in the area with the dominant Pashtun communities for centuries, pay taxes, and play an important role in the economic progress of the region. But still, he laments, we fail to protect their lives and property. They are being killed and kidnapped by the Taliban in Orakzai, Kurrum, and Khyber tribal regions, Khan says, adding that other Pakistanis must stand by them in these critical hours and give them a sense of oneness and brotherhood.
An estimated 28,000 Sikhs live in Pakistan, including about 10,000 who live in the tribal region and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of the conflict-ridden country. In May 2009, Taliban militants destroyed 11 Sikh homes in the Orakzai tribal district after accusing them of failing to pay "taxes." The ongoing conflict in the Buner and Swat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has displaced more than 200 families.http://www.rferl.org/content/The_Noble_Servant_Of_Peshawar/2060044.html