All by himself: Afaq to fight his own case

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Allowing the request of Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi chairman Afaq Ahmed for pleading his case in person, the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday appointed the SHC president and the general secretary as amici curiae in the kidnapping case against the jailed Haqiqi chief and summoned the Sindh prosecutor general on November 15, ordering him to present the record of all other cases registered against Ahmed. Justice Maqbool Baqar heard the bail application of Ahmed in the kidnapping case of city government employee Jamil Baloch.
An amicus curiae (literal meaning: friend of court; plural: amici curiae) is someone, not a party in a case, who volunteers to offer information to assist a court in deciding a matter. The information thus provided may be legal opinions, a testimony not solicited by any of the parties, or some information on a matter that bears on the case. However, the decision on whether to admit the information lies at the discretion of the court. During the course of hearing, Ahmed had submitted that he may be allowed to proceed with the matter personally as his representative counsels were murdered by his political opponents in the past or received threats of dire consequences. The court accepted his request and allowed him to proceed with the case in person.
Earlier, the counsel’s representative – Sindh assistant prosecutor general – was unable to furnish the details of the cases filed against the alleged accused and failed to satisfy the court with his answers. The Haqiqi chief had arrived at the high court under heavy security and a large number of police and Rangers personnel were also deployed in the court premises. Talking to journalists after the hearing, Ahmed supported the implementation of local governments system in Sindh, saying that the commissionerate system is beneficial for the masses but the local bodies system is even more favourable for the downtrodden people. Criticising the government’s policy of reconciliation, the Haqiqi chairman said that the corrupt and terrorist elements have been given shelter under the reconciliation policy.
Terming himself as a ‘prisoner of conscience’, Ahmed said that he was subjected to torture at the behest of his political rival but he will never leave his motherland. In response to a question, he admitted that he is in contact with several political leaders and democratic parties of the country including former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza.