SC Bar Association Stands With Asma Jahangir Conference Against Attacks From Minister
The statement said that the conference provided a platform for a diverse section of the society to come forth and have an open dialogue on the issues of fundamental rights, democratic values, and the rule of law.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) defended the agenda of the Asma Jehangir Conference against accusations of ‘foreign funding’ being leveled against the organisers by Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry.
The statement said that the conference provided a platform for a diverse section of the society to come forth and have an open dialogue on the issues of fundamental rights, democratic values, and the rule of law. It added that the conference provided a platform for discussion of contentious issues that were essential for furthering democratic and progressive values.
The bar, in its statement, argued that freedom of speech is of vital importance to ensure the strengthening of democratic values and it entailed listening to critical voices ‘that we disagree with’. It said that the conference provided a forum for bridging gaps between the various segments of society.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary had accused the conference of using foreign funding.
Chaudhary had skipped the conference in protest against former premier Nawaz Sharif addressing the closing ceremony. The minister wrote on Twitter that the conference concluding with the speech of an absconder was tantamount to contempt of court.
Advised SCBA that they should remain neutral only than Lawyers can contribute! Conference addressed by CJP and senior Judges is concluding with speech by an absconder it’s nothing but a contempt of Judges and Judiciary ……
Earlier on Sunday, internet services were suspended at the Asma Jehangir conference, held at Avari Hotel Lahore, when former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif greeted the audience before beginning his speech.