We were ready to fight Afzal’s case: HCBA

‘Family Harbored Apprehensions’

D A RASHID

Srinagar, Feb 18: Terming the reports against it for its failure to provide legal aid to  Afzal Guru a mere trash, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association(Kashmir) on Monday said it was always ready to fight his (Afzal’s) case but his family and relatives declined our offer.
 Addressing a news conference here the president of Bar Association, Z A Qureshi said: “ We could not take up the case on our own as the family harboured  apprehensions of some negative impact and declined our offer to fight the case in Delhi.”
 Qureshi , however, said that the Bar Association raised the issue of Afzal’s execution time and again and visited him in Tihar Jail. The Bar president said in 2004 a team of High Court Bar Association led by its former president, Mian Abdul Qayoom met Afzal in Tihar Jail and he had expressed his dismay over the division of Hurriyat Conference. “He told the team that he neither wept nor gave in, when the court announced his death sentence but he wept profusely to hear the division of the Hurriyat Conference into two factions. He said the announcement of death penalty did not discourage him but the differences between the leaders had tormented him,” Qureshi said.
 Referring to a memorandum the HCBA submitted earlier seeking Afzal’s release, Qureshi said on the eve of a meeting between former president of Pakistan, Parvez Musharaf and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New York on September 14, 2005, the Bar stated that Afzal Guru was falsely implicated in the Parliament attack case and was sentenced to death without any opportunity to engage a lawyer of his choice.
 He said on January 18, 2006, a team of High Court Bar Association led by its then president Mian Abdul Qayoom visited Tihar Jail and met Guru. “ Muhammad Afzal Guru told the team that he was worried about the detainees and under trial prisoners lodged in different jails at Delhi as they did not get proper legal assistance” the Bar president said.
 Quoting Afzal, the Bar president said, he (Afzal) also said that all leaders of Kashmir should get united and form a joint front in keeping with the ground realities and keeping in view interests of Kashmiris in mind.
 “He (Afzal) appreciated the role of the Bar and the work of lawyers with regard to detainees and said that Sajad Lone had no locus to talk to government of India. Whenever a joint front is made, the Bar must lead at the front” the Bar President said.
 He said in 2009, a team of Bar sought permission from deputy Superintendent of Jail at Tihar to  meet Afzal Guru but he did not allow the team asking it to seek permission from DG prisons. He said unfortunately the meeting could not materialize.
 Asked if HCBA would chose any legal course to seek the body of Muhammad Afzal Guru, the former High Court Bar president, Mian Abdul Qayoom who also addressed the press conference said that a group of three lawyers led by the Bar president, Z A Qureshi was at Delhi for last several days for exploring possibility to file a petition to get the body. “But the process was put on hold in view of the communications between the family and the government on the issue. If return of the body is denied, the Bar would chose the legal course,” he added.
 Terming some reports against the Bar as baseless, Qayoom said it is up to the victim to choose his lawyer and we cannot poke nose into some ones issue. “If the victims approach us we defend their cases without charging a penny” he said.   
 Former HCBA president, Nazir Ahmad Ronga said if Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association is taking some detainees issue in the Supreme Court, the Association is looked down upon and is treated in an indecorous way.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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