LAHORE: They have been staying at a camp set up in Cox Bazar, Southeast coast of Bangladesh, Azeem Ibrahim shares his experience of visiting Rohingya Muslisms displaced by the Burmese authorities.

“A sea of people was there, all of them in apathetic condition,” he explains. "Thin and small, broken and with gloomy look.” 

Perhaps, they had thought of some relief and shelter from the atrocities at Bangladesh they had been facing back at home in Myanmar for a long time.

“We have no facility at the camp; neither ambulances in case of any medical emergency nor any cell phone to contact our beloved ones back at home,” Ibrahim quotes the refugees he had met with during his visit to Bangladesh.

Azeem Ibrahim is currently teaching at a war college in the US and is a scholar of Cambridge University. He was in Lahore to take part in a panel discussed titled 'Rohingya: Inside the Burmese Genocide' held under the aegis of Information Technology University and Punjab government at Al-Hamra Hall. Omar Waraich from Amnesty International, the other panelist, made the debate so vibrant by putting tough questions and sharing worldwide apathy of the refugees, with emphasis on Rohingya Muslim refugees.

“The atrocities what the Rohyingya Muslims are facing today is not the matter of months or years,” Ibrahim builds his contention to establish his view point that actually how and when it started. “Rohingyas supported British while Buddhists supported Japanese soon after the World War II — the moment when regional challenges started for Rohingyas,” he states. He further says that in 1962, General Renwin made it difficult for Rohingyas to live there and rejected their citizenship and declared them non-citizens as a reaction of old rivalry dated back to the aftermaths of World War II.

“It’s not new, it is continuously going on for last more than 50 years,” he said.

Sharing his view point, Omar Warraich says “Bangladesh is not just recognising the refugees.”. However, he reveals that some of the ‘jets’ used against the Rohingya peoples were given to the Burmese by a Muslim military.

“They are loyal to Bangladesh but they have failed to be part of it,” says Warraich, adding that “Actually, they were with the then Pakistan.”

But this is not just Bangladesh; the Arab world is also there which has not provided shelter to any Refugee, especially those who belong to Rohingya.

“Even those who claims civilized have not offered them shelter or refuge,” he mulls.

Omar credits Pakistan for its role in providing refuge to millions of people from war-torn Afghanistan. “Refugees are an international challenge in the modern age,” he says.

Coming to the solution, however, he says that “Bangladesh is not the solution of Refugees’ crisis.” Azeem Ibrahim, however, suggests that international organizations must take Burma into account for solution of the crisis.

Upholding rule of law

In another session, ‘Upholding the rule of law: The history of the Lahore High Court', Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah presented his book in this regard.

The Chief Justice said that before his book, there had never been any proper book except the one by Sidhwa that too was all about chronicle of high court history.

He said that idea behind going for Book was to tell the public at large that the way justice system works. He termed the general perception of the courts not working as false, saying last year 0.2 million and 2.2 million cases were decided by the high court and district courts respectively.

He too made a point of pressure in form of judges’ shortage in Punjab. He said that according to the latest census, population of Punjab is 110 million which means 1 Judge for 1.8 million people at high court level and 1 judge for 62,000 people at district level.

“Cause List of District Judiciary Judges needs to be limited to the extent of 5 to 6 cases according to international standards which presently  stands at 150 cases,” says the Chief Justice. “To bring this Cause List to 5 to 6 cases 10 thousand more judges at district level are required,” he further says.

He told audience that High Court means Chief Justice and Judges. Presently 60 is its sanctioned strength. He spoke at length about present administrative structure, formation of Principal Seat & Benches and jurisdiction of High Court. He also apprised the audience the background of constitutional/writ jurisdiction of High Court. He gave the audience the brief introduction of Book saying it is comprised of 6 Chapters. He said that  the last chapter being written by him is looking towards future.

He further elaborated that the book is in coffee table format adored with pics and giving it reader knowledge of history of high court, bar and bench relations, illustrious judgement delivered by bench. He also spoke of architect of LHC saying that it hybrid architect amalgamation of different features taken from different religions. Justice Yawar Ali said that history of the Lahore High Court is enriched with illustrious judges who handed down great judgements which are beacon of light for progeny.

Dr Yaqoob Bangesh, Aijazuddin and Advocate Saad Rasool also spoke about history of the high court, rule of law, bar and bench relations.

Justice Sardar Mohammad Shamim Ahmad Khan, Justice Ameenuddin Khan, Registrar Syed Khurshid Anwar Rizwi, Director of District Judiciary Mohammad Akmal Khan and Session Judge Lahore Abid Hussain Qureshi were also present there.