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Arrested, Released, Happy and Startled – Karachi Lawyers/Left/Civil Movement Protest

Guest Post by Riaz Ahmed of International Socialist of Pakistan

Police arrest Ayub Qureshi

Police arrest Ayub Qureshi

We were released around 12:05am after being arrested at 10:55pm on July 17. It was a fantastic experience. Everyone managed to force the police to spoil the Doger show. Imposed as Cheif Justice of Supreme Court on Nov 3 by General Musharraf Doger is trying to establish himself and came to address a function in the late of night on July 17 at the Sindh High Court.

Thanks everyone for the frantic phone calls, smses and email alerts that within minutes the news of arrests of us 16 was flashing on the entire planet! So much energy. But we should not exaggerate. Not because that exposes our weakness in mobilizing many after the Long March but solely because exaggeration of our numbers obscures the fragility of this regime — its panic, its inability in handling a minor protest, its failure to estimate the popularity of our movement, its inefficiency in forcing a small victory for its side — its powerlessness after being so ‘powerful’ with all the state apparatuses.
We were few, I counted at most 70 to 80 people in all, at the most, not more. They, the police were many, about 50 on trucks and vans on each side of High Court, hundreds waiting in police stations all around. When people assembled at 8:55pm at the Naubahar Restaurant opposite Election Commission Office on the road leading to the imperial High Court Sindh building it was obvious the protest will be a photo-session. Leaders of Karachi Bar like Secretary Naeem Qureshi (who was arrested later) were quick to first move the protest from main road (already blocked by five police vans) near to the pavement and then to the disgust of all us activists (Peoples Resistance 4, International Socialists 5, Trade Unionist 1 and about 12 lawyers led by the very able Ahmed Salahuddin) the Naubahar was forced open by police and Naeem Qureshi announced at about 9:25 that we stop the protest and have dinner inside!!

About 16 of us continued protest, then a brilliant young lawyer Noor Khan started raising slogans ‘high court chalo ya jail chalo (high court or jail) and suddenly the crowd swelled only to be stopped by a handful of policemen helped by cooperating lawyers asking us not to proceed. We tried again after 20 minutes, now 8 of us, but could not find any echo, by now about 50 odd protesters were eating the dinner in Naubahar (one free biryani Rs 115 paid by the leaders). Salahuddin, Noman and Noor the trio that initiated the idea of protest against Dogar a day before went busy trying to convince people for further action. Around 10:35pm one whispered us few standing outside that the protest is moving quietly to the front entrance door (the pigeon chowrangi near Sindh Assembly) of the High Court. Naubahar is on the back side, we had to travel around to the front side. By the time Ayub (Pak Trade Union Federation), I, Burhan, Asim, Usman of IS reached there the scuffle had begun. The pigeons sleeping on the chowk were flying desperately as the police shoved protesters from over the chowrangi towards the Sindh Secretariat side, I and Ayub decided to court arrest. When we got near the crowd Adv Noor was being bundled in the van, badly beaten but continued raising slogans until arrested. We raised slogans and were mercilessly attacked by the panicked police. Ayub was encircled by plainclothesmen and I saw all hell broke on him. I raised the slogan ‘Hum Kiya Chahtay Hein (What do we want)’ and the burly policemen cried jumping on me ‘Aa Behn@#$% tujhey batatey hein (Oh fuck your @$%*, let me tell you) and while pulling me himself fell on the ground. Quickly I too was bundled in by other of his brethren.

In the van I saw Ahmed Salahuddin, Naeem, Noor, KK Jawaid, we all were very happy that we succeeded in protesting and getting arrested, everyone knew anything less than that was of no good. Everyone who wanted to continue protest was arrested. Women to Women’s Police Station and men to Preddy Police Station.

That they continue to mention Ahmed Salahuddin as son of Sindh CJ Sabih is only to personalize Ahmed’s role in this struggle, that is highly unjust. However the fact that they are young, brilliant, consistent and mindful-of-the-need-of-moment lawyers like Ahmed and Noor will itself come out as a much much larger truth, it’s a matter of time only.

That it all was organized in a matter of few hours is marvelous. It was against heavy odds: the dharna-spectre of Long March, the ferocious speed and brutality with which the US and Pak state war on North West has managed to get popular consent/shock as the silence against it shows, the massive rise in price and people’s frustration and the exhaustion of struggling activists. They attacked us thinking we can be overwhelmed but failed miserably.

The state is weak, it is desperate to maintain a facade of its existence. What we need is to spread this realization that forcing a change only requires tipping the balance, gathering of our potential energies — they are few and we are many. And they no longer have the guts to be our masters.

Wondering how one can come to that conclusion? Just one last episode: Ayub Qureshi got arrested for the third time in this movement. This short-height smiling left-trade-unionist in late forties was arrested in protests in Karachi raising slogans last year on Sept 29 against Gen Musharraf’s ‘election’, on Nov 5 against Emergency and now on July 17 at Sindh High Court. This time while he was pushed, dragged and bundled in the van, someone took a photograph. In this photo full of fantastic expression of anger there is another but disgusting action in progress too. You can see in the attached photo that while the plainclothesmen are arresting Ayub the ‘two starred policeman (part of name appearing as ‘hahzada’) is actually busy taking away Ayub’s watch!

Riaz Ahmed
(International Socialists (Pak))




    A well known Pushto poet and religious scholar.

    Shangla is a land of evergreen trees, pastures, cold and sweet springs, singing birds, beautiful waterfalls, waving fields, murmuring streams, snow covered and green mountains, coloured flowers, fragrant air, brave Yousafzai Pushtoon and historical stories which gave birth to great religious scholars, poets, politicians and famous personalities, who raised the heads of Pushtoons with pride in the whole world. Among them one of the famous name is Hafiz-e- Alpuri who as a poet served the Pushto literature a lot.

    According to “Tawarikh-e-Rahmat Khwani” of Roshan Khan his real name was Abdul Samad. He opened his eyes in beautiful valley of Ghwarband, Alpuri in Shangla. He belonged to the famous Mandan Yousafzai tribe of Pushtoon. He migrated here from Utmanzi Charsadda and settled here in Shangla.

    He was a great poet of Pushto as well as a great religious scholar, a pious person and Hafiz-e- Quran. He was known as Hafiz-e- Alpuri because he had learnt the holy Quran by heart and belonged to village Alpuri. He traveled to Peshawar, Mardan, Buner, Swat and other surrounding areas for getting religious education. He received his early education at Khwaza Khela which was a great centre of Islamic education at that time.

    When he was born, there was un Islamic customs in Shangla, Swat, Buner, dir, and other surrounding areas. He teach the people to lead their lives according to Islam and expressed his revolutionary thoughts through his poetry to eradicate the un Islamic customs and to enlighten the life of people with Islamic ways of life.

    He added a new chapter in Pushto literature by completing a collection of his poetry called Dewan-e- Hafiz-e- Alpuri. Dewan-e- Hafiz-e-Alpuri was published after his death for the first time 1927, and for the second time in 1932.

    His poetry is classified into five chapters on the basis of composition. Chapter one contains oneness of God and Prophet hood, second real love with God, third code and conduct of life and fifth counsels and advices.

    He used Persian and Arabic words very beautifully in his poetry, He is well known poet of Pushto. Those who have aesthetic sense for poetry and literature know his verses by heart.

    He was a staunch, pious and a punctual Muslim scholar. The purpose of his poetry teaches to do the right and condemn the wrong. He loved Islam whole heartedly. His love for All mighty Allah and his prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is proved by his poetry.

    He was the poet of reality, though his poetry also contains verses about worldly things like beloved, wine etc. His real and spiritual poetry enlightened the mind of people and the love for All Mighty Allah and his prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is increased.

    He was an egoist, content and monotheist poet. His poetry reflects the real love for All Mighty Allah and his prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and the real code and conduct of Islamic way of life. There are a lot of stories about his saintliness and his miracles.

    Hafiz-e- Alpuri passed away at the age of 67 years in 1225 Hijhra. He was buried in Alpuri on Khwaza Khela Besham road among lush green mountains near the Ghwarban River.

    Some of the verses of the Hafiz-e- Alpuri are stated here.

    1. “Sal zala ka oki da Ka’abe na tawafoona,”

    “Khar da Masiha ba da Hajiano qareen na she”

    Translation; – If the donkey of hazrat Esa (PBUH) walks around Ka’aba a hundred times, He can’t reach the degrees of pilgrims.

    2. “Pa daro ka da neizay zakham raghegi”

    “Rogh ban a she pa daro zakham da jabay”

    Translation;- The wounds of spear can be treated but the wounds of tongue can’t be treated.

    3. “Bia mond darweshano khwand da khawro pa kandool ki”

    “Hich latafat na ka da shahano jam zareen ta “

    Translation;- Saints have tasted such a pleasure in the cup of mud that they never look at the golden cup of the kings.

    4. “Dunia sarab da nadanan ye oba yakhey ganri”

    “Mahroom tre droomi tashna lab qata’a la aba”

    Translation; – This world is mirage and fools mistake it for cold spring of water. But they lose hope when they leave the world with thrust and deprivation.

    5. “Pa sro shondo ki wor day hoom oba de”

    “Dwarha zest ka pa yaw zai ke be jadala”

    Translation; – Fire and water dwell at the same time in red lips without any fighting.

    6. “Ta che pa Ghwarband ke shanakht qemat ghwarhi Hafiza”

    “Bovi da mushk ghwari da dabgaro pa dukan ke”

    Translation; – O, Hafiz! You want identity and value in Ghwarband (Alpuri area). It is as if you want to buy scents in the shop of hides (skins).

    E-mail:- sultan_shangla@yahoo.com
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    +92996885488 (Residence)