Lawyers do a lot for a country’s law and order. Highlighted even more in the latest Pakistani movie ‘Actor In Law’, we saw the role of active lawyers in getting social justice and bringing the situation of law and order in Pakistan to a fair standard.
Do such lawyers depicted in movies, only exist in movies? Perhaps not. There’s one that we would want to shed light upon.
Ahmed Bilal, an attorney at law, took it upon himself a month ago to file a petition against the ban on film ‘Maalik’, and we at Daily Pakistan are about to tell you WHY.
DP: How did you react to the ban on film ‘Maalik’, and what did you think was the reason for banning it?
AB: When I came to know about the ban on ‘Maalik’, I thought someone had made a joke about it. Later, I realized that the joke was on me, and the federal government had actually banned a movie which was perhaps going to make the public more aware of their rights as citizens of Pakistan.
The movie’s tagline was quite similar to that of ‘V for Vendetta’, where the message was that the government should be scared of its people, not the other way round. People, to my surprise, had complained that the movie made a mockery of the current elected government and even persuaded people to stand up to them.
When I went through the complaints, they seemed ‘fabricated’ because almost all of them were in the same format! Even if they were real, the complaints of a few dozen people out of the many millions could not have been the reason for the ban. It was all very mysterious and made me curious.
DP: Ahmad, tell us more about why you wrote a petition against it. Do you think it had more to do with ‘freedom of expression’ or was it because you were curious to see the film?
AB: Being a lawyer and being aware of my rights, I was really disturbed that my fundamental right to ‘access of information’ had been taken away due to this ‘illegal act of the government’. This very right is granted to me, as well as every other citizen of Pakistan through Article 19A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The censor board had granted the film ‘Maalik’ a license for public exhibition of the film, and it made me furious at the current situation and I thought to do something about it, because it was still not being displayed.
I thought that the makers of the film deserved a hearing at least. I, under the constitutional jurisdiction of the Honorable High Court, under article 199 of the constitution, argued that the movie was a provincial subject, and not federal, and therefore the federal government had no right to ban it. The Honorable Court heard my arguments and the arguments of the federal government, and ruled that the ban was illegal and unconstitutional.
DP: We are proud to know that there are lawyers like you in the country who still fight for their freedom of expression, and for others! Tell us about yourself, and your designation.
AB: I graduated with a degree in Law from the Punjab University Law College, and have been practicing law ever since. Currently, I am working as the Managing Partner of RBS Law Associates, who deal in Corporate and Tax matters. We are representing a lot of companies and industries in Pakistan at different courts as their legal counsel.
DP: Do you think that the Court, and our current law and order can do justice to the everyday problems we face living in Pakistan?
AB: Yes, the courts and law do justice to the problems we face. The one thing that is actually REQUIRED from people to resolve their problems, is to go up to court and file a complaint. Many people fail to do that, which is why they lack justice.
I have observed that whenever a fundamental right is violated, the court is very fair and strict towards the outcome and the solution of the matter. All we need to do is know our rights, and the way to the court!
We hope to have more lawyers with the ability to fight for the everyday rights of citizens, and for the freedom of expression such as this one.
Wishing Ahmed Bilal the best of luck for his future endeavours.