In quest of justice for all Punjabis

A Supreme Court lawyer has filed a petition in the apex court in Pakistan to expunge a 1924 judgment of the Lahore High Court that refers to Punjabis as liars

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Sonia Raj Sood is determined to get "justice" for all Punjabis. An advocate in the Supreme Court of India, she has travelled across the border to approach the apex court in Pakistan to expunge a 1924 judgment of the Lahore High Court that refers to Punjabis as liars. She also wants the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to apologise for the "discriminatory remarks".

Her petition had earlier been dismissed by the Supreme Court in India in July 2005 stating that "it is not a considered opinion against any particular community''.

"I am the first Indian to have filed a petition in Pakistan. It is important that people understand my point. I don't want children to grow up and find that these remarks still exist in the law books of Pakistan, India and Britain. These remarks remain the law of the land till they are not expunged,'' she said at a press conference here on Friday.

Claiming that she had heard that in 1940 there was a judgment by the Lahore High Court that refused to accept the evidence of a woman who was gang-raped because she was a Punjabi, Ms. Sood firmly believes that her case is not a publicity stunt contrary to popular opinion.

"Punjabis in Pakistan were very supportive of my cause. Farkhar Zaman, a well-known writer and chairman of the Pakistan chapter of World Punjabi Congress, came forward as a co-petitioner. I was even granted a 13-minute interview with President Pervez Musharraf, who promised to give me support," she said.

Her petition, which is to be heard in October, asks to expunge the remarks made by two British judges in the Lahore High Court which state that "it is a well known that inhabitants of the Punjab at the time of death not only accuse the actual offenders but also include the names of other enemies''.

"I am also planning to go to the International Court of Justice claiming racial discrimination. I will also travel to Canada, Britain and Dubai to get support from Punjabis in these areas," she added.

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