The News : Lawyers blame govt for Islamabad blast

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lawyers blame govt for Islamabad blast

Say CJ was target; rule out suicide bombing

By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association and the Pakistan Bar Council on Wednesday alleged that the tragic incident that took place on the occasion of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s scheduled address to the Islamabad Bar Association wherein 16 people were killed and 40 injured, was engineered by the government to target the chief justice.

Addressing a joint press conference here at Supreme Court building, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Aziz Akbar Baig refuted the claim of the government that it was a suicide bomb blast and said that it was a conspiracy to target Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. ìIt was an attack by the government and not a suicide attack,î he added.

Munir A Malik, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Ali Ahmed Kurd of Pakistan Bar Council and Syed Qalbe-Hassan, member Pakistan Bar Council, were also present on the occasion.

Elaborating his point of view, Baig said that they had announced that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would arrive at the venue at 8.30 pm. It was significant that the bomb blast occurred exactly at 8.30 pm.

Soon after the blast, shots were also heard. He claimed that the chief justice was scheduled to arrive at the venue right at 8.30 pm. However, the president of the Islamabad Bar Association came late to receive the chief justice at his residence and later, after offering Maghrib prayers, they proceeded to the venue. When they reached near Marriott Hotel, they received information about the bomb blast.

Later, they took the CJ to the Supreme Court Bar Association office at the Supreme Court building to decide whether to proceed to the venue or not. However, the chief justice stressed for moving to the venue and later they moved to the spot and only offered Fateha for the people killed in the blast instead of addressing the Bar.

He said that in a suicide attack, the upper parts of the bodies are mostly destroyed. However, in this particular attack, the lower parts of the bodies were dismembered, which proved that it was not a suicide attack.

Aziz Akbar Baig said that the government’s move was aimed at sabotaging the movement of the lawyersí community for the independence of judiciary. However, he pledged that their movement would continue in all circumstances.

Ali Ahmed Kurd, speaking on the occasion, said that by conducting the blast on the occasion, the government had tried to send a bloody message to the lawyers’ community. ìWe accept this message and vow to continue our movement and would never betray the confidence of the people,î Kurd said.

Munir A Malik said that the blast was not a reaction of the Lal Masjid operation but it was an attempt to attack the chief justice. He said the camp set up inside the ‘Pindaal’ from where the CJ was scheduled to enter was targeted.

He said that they were responsible for the security measures inside the ‘Pindaal’, while security outside the venue was the responsibility of the government. However he alleged that the government had failed to ensure security measures outside the venue. Syed Qalbe Hassan, member Pakistan Bar Council, quoting a doctor of a local hospital, claimed that beds had already been arranged in the hospitals before the blast.