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The Daily Times/Pakistan

American Human Rights Activists on 24-hour Vigil Outside Aitzaz's House

by
Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: American human rights activists started a 24-hour vigil at Supreme Court Bar Association president Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan's residence at 12:00pm on Sunday to protest Aitzaz's detention.1203 07

The SCBA president's house has been designated a 'sub-jail' with him inside. Americans Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, members of the Global Exchange and women's peace group Code Pink, plan to continue their vigil till today (Monday).

On Sunday, lawyers Muhammad Azhar Siddique along with his family, Naveed Inayat Malik, Pervaiz Inayat Malik, Khurram Latif Khosa, PPP leader Azizur Rehman Chan, Labour Party chief Farooq Tariq and Aitzaz's wife Bushra Aitzaz joined the sit-in at the entrance of Aitzaz's house for two hours. When the activists tried to put up a banner reading 'Musharraf Release Lawyers', the police stopped them. The participants told the police that Aitzaz's detention order had ended at 12:00pm. However, the police told the activists that his detention would continue till Monday (12:00pm).

The activists shouted anti-Musharraf slogans and pro-Aitzaz slogans. They demanded the government release all detained lawyers.

Talking to reporters, Benjamin said they had come to Pakistan to learn about the political situation after the imposition of emergency rule. She said Musharraf's claims that all lawyers and politicians had been freed were false because the SCBA president was still under house arrest. Pointing to a board outside Aitzaz's residence declaring the house a 'sub-jail', she said, "This is ridiculous. We love Pakistan. We want peace to prevail in Pakistan. If Musharraf is a democrat, he should free Aitzaz and restore the deposed judges."

Barry told Daily Times that they would go to Quetta to meet Ali Ahmed Kurd. He said they would also meet the deposed judges. He denounced US President George W Bush for supporting Musharraf.

© 2007 The Daily Times

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