Barrister Aitzaz — 35-year-long journey from principles to expediency

Web Desk
February 10, 2012

LAHORE: The 66-year old Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who is often accused these days by critics for mincing his own words and for deviating from his various past standpoints owing to certain...

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LAHORE: The 66-year old Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who is often accused these days by critics for mincing his own words and for deviating from his various past standpoints owing to certain expediencies, had sacrificed his minister-ship 35 years ago on principled grounds after the police had opened fire on a rally of lawyers during the anti-Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) movement of 1977.
The lawyers were holding demonstrations against the alleged rigging of elections by the Bhutto regime, when the police had lost their patience. Aitzaz Ahsan’s righteous stance to relinquish charge as a sitting minister had then consequently led to his expulsion from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
Given the portfolio of Information, Planning and Development in 1975, after he was elected unopposed from Gujrat to the Punjab Assembly following his party colleague Anwar Samma’s murder, Aitzaz is now representing the third Pakistani Prime Minister in the Supreme Court 35 years down the lane.
He has previously defended Premiers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif at the Apex Pakistani court. Having categorically stated on record that former President Musharraf did not enjoy legal immunity for any wrong-doing in line with Islamic injunctions, the former Federal Law and Interior Minister now thinks the incumbent Pakistani head of state (Asif Zardari) cannot be held accountable for any of his misdeeds till he was in office.
He is perhaps ignoring the fact that on April 12, 1999, an American federal judge had held the then sitting US President Clinton in contempt of court for giving “intentionally false” testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones lawsuit-making him pay an amount of $ 1,202 that the punishing arbiter had incurred in traveling to Washington on the then sitting head of state’s request.
(Reference: The Washington Post edition of April 13, 1999)
While we all know that not very long ago, Aitzaz had also viewed on innumerable television channels there was no harm in writing a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
And now he thinks otherwise or has perhaps failed to convince his more knowledgeable ‘clients’ in this context. Similarly, just to recap, although he had pledged that he would never appear before Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary in any court case, Aitzaz was seen doing so on Thursday in Premier Yousaf Raza Gilani’s intra-court appeal against an order summoning him on February 13 for the framing of charges in a contempt of court case for refusing to revive the Swiss cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
By the way, Aitzaz had successfully represented Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s case (PLD 2007 SC 578) in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Pitted against a team consisting of 16 senior lawyers representing the Federation, Aitzaz had defended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary very professionally indeed.
The hearing conducted by a full panel of judges headed by Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, had later reinstated the Chief Justice declaring his suspension by General Pervez Musharraf regime as “illegal.”



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