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Chaudary Aitzaz Ahsan is a Pakistani politician and lawyer by profession. He was born on 27th September 1945, in Murree. He belongs to a Jutt family of the Warrich clan and grew in Punjab. His academic life started when he joined Aitcheson College, Lahore. He then enrolled in Government College Lahore and later studied law at Downing College, Cambridge. He appeared in CSS exams where he topped for two consecutive times.
Chaudary Aitzaz Ahsan’s political career started when he came back to Pakistan in 1967. There was Political chaos where civil supremacy was overthrown by military dictators. He decided to join PPP (Pakistan People’s Party). He joined PPP for the following three main reasons.
- PPP was the only Democratic Party that showed hope for the people.
- It talked about the rights and freedom of students.
- The civilian friendly manifesto of PPP i.e. Food, Shelter, and Clothes for the poor.
Chaudary Aitzaz Ahsan himself was on the front lines of democratic movements and human rights activities from his early life. So he joined Pakistan People Party in 1970. He was elected as a member of the Provisional Assembly of Punjab for the first time from Gujarat in 1977. He was appointed as Provincial Minister of Information Planning and Development. He was in his twenties during his tenure as a Provisional Minister. In the following year, Pakistan National Alliances (PNA) demonstration against the alleged rigging of elections by the PPP government in 1977 of major (11) political parties was formed. So during this political unrest and hegemony, the government ordered Punjab police to have an open fire on a rally of the lawyers. This incident was so brutal and against the basic rights of Democracy that, He resigned from both the Provincial Cabinet and Pakistan People Party. Aitzaz Ahsan then joined Therik-e- Istaqlal.
Chaudary Aitzaz Ahsan is a major name during “Operation Fair Play” against the Zia regime and was imprisoned for many times for the movement of “Restoration of Democracy”.Which objective was to bring Civil Democracy over Military Dictatorship. He then rejoined the Pakistan People party again as a prominent figure during Benazir’s rule. He then served Pakistan People Party as Minister of National Assembly in 1998 for the first time and was appointed as Minister of Law and Justices at the same time he was also Interior Minister and Narcotics. He was re-elected as a Member of the National Assembly for the second time in 1990 from the Lahore constituency. His political struggle goes on and has been serving as a prominent person of the Pakistan People Party as a senator as well.
He lost the Pakistan General elections of 1993 to Humayun Akhtar Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League.
In 1994 he was elected as a member of the Senate of Pakistan for the first time representing PPP, where he sat as Leader of the Opposition until 1999.
In the Pakistan General elections of 2002, he ran for the membership of the National Assembly on PPP seat from two constituencies. He was re-elected as a member of the National Assembly for the third time from constituencies of Bahawalpur and Lahore. He retained his Lahore seat.
Ahsan didn’t run in the Pakistan General elections of 2008 due to his involvement in the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of deposed judges.
Ahsan was elected as a member of the Senate for the second time in the Pakistani Senate election, 2012 on technocrat seat representing PPP. In 2013, he reportedly resigned from Senate membership.
In 2013, Ahsan become an opposition leader in the Senate. In 2015, he, for the second time, became an opposition leader in the Senate. Currently, he is serving as a member of PPP and he is one of the PPP’s prominent leaders.
Professionally, Ahsan is a barrister at law and a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He is the senior partner of Aitzaz Ahsan & Associates. He has represented several high-profile Pakistani personalities including three Prime ministers of Pakistan in various cases such as Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, and Yousaf Raza Gillani, and former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. He had served as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. He is known for representing and leading the lawyers’ campaign to reinstate former Chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. In 2008, he was awarded the Asian Human Rights Defender Award by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission for his unforgettable services for human rights and democracy. Ahsan was arrested following Pakistani state of emergency, 2007. He was house arrested in his house in Lahore for four months. He was released in March 2008. He is also a noted human rights activist in Pakistan.
Human Rights Activist
Aitzaz Ahsan is not just a politician, lawyer but he is also a fighter of human rights. He is democratic and liberal by ideology. For democracy, he has been jailed many times by military and totalitarian regimes – Zia’s and Musharraf’s era. His movement for the restoration of democracy during Musharraf’s rule made him popular among politicians and the general public.
One of the biggest services for Human Rights in Pakistan is the establishment of HRCP (Human Rights Corporation of Pakistan), which now works to provide human rights in Pakistan, raise the voice for oppressed people. He believes in liberty and equality for all humans and the example is he raise a voice for the downtrodden part of Pakistan’s society i.e. fights for the minorities of Pakistan. Therefore he is quite popular in the neglected 2% of Pakistan, also.
Chaudary Aitzaz Ahsan has been writing articles in famous newspapers, Articles, and review opinion papers. But all of this he is most famous for his book ”Indus Saga and Making of Pakistan”. This book explains the culture and civilization of Pakistan especially the historical heritage of Sindh. It is said to be the answer of the book written by Jawahar Lal Nehru (the prominent leader of the Indian National Congress). Chaudary Aitzaz Ahsan is also the co-author of the book (Divided by Democracy) which was written by him and his fellow of London school of economics.