Musharraf, Gillani condemn attack on ex-law minister, order probe

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Islamabad, Apr.9 : Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gillani have condemned the manhandling of veteran politician and former federal Law Minister Dr. Sher Afgan Khan Niazi in Lahore on Tuesday.

Musharraf called upon the authorities concerned to immediately conduct an inquiry into the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice. Prime Minister Gillani directed the Punjab Government to investigate the manhandling.

"A civilised society could not accept such an incident and those responsible should be brought to justice," the Daily Times quoted Gillani, as saying.

Rehman Malik, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs, announced the establishment of a three-member committee to probe the incident.

Malik said the committee would consist of an additional home secretary and two senior officials from the police and the Special Branch.

He condemned the torture on Niazi and said it was an attempt to derail the democratic process.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Mian Shahbaz Sharif termed the incident a conspiracy to strangle the democracy in the country, adding that "agents of the dictatorship" were involved in the incident.

MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar termed the manhandling of former Sindh Chief MInister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim in Karachi and Niazi in Lahore a slap on the face of democracy in the country.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi also condemned the incident and criticised the lawyers for subjecting an ailing politician to brutal torture.

Pakistan People's Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari called it a conspiracy against democracy, while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that no one expected such a shameful act from lawyers.

He said, "Everyone has his own point of view. While we can differ from one another's views, we cannot act violently."

Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman said: "I am disappointed over this tragic incident that has also hurt the sentiments of the people throughout the country."

She said that the incident was against the norms of a civilised society and democracy.

Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek described it as a shameful incident and demanded an inquiry into it.

He said that no one would be allowed to break the law, and those who were involved in the incident, would be brought to justice.

Prominent lawyers of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Pakistan Bar Council also condemned the attack.

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