HomeDiplomatic NewsAmbassadorsPro-Palestine protestor interrupts German Ambassador's speech

Pro-Palestine protestor interrupts German Ambassador’s speech

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Islamabad, 27 April 2024 (TDI): A Pro Palestine protestor interrupted the speech of Alfred Grannas, the German Ambassador to Pakistan as he began a speech on safeguarding civil rights at the 5th Asma Jahangir Conference titled “People’s Mandate: Safeguarding Civil Rights in South Asia,” held in Islamabad.

The Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS) organized the two-day conference in collaboration with the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC).

As Ambassador Alfred Grannas commenced his speech, the crowd heard protesters chanting “I am shocked by the audacity that you are here to talk about civil rights while your country is brutally abusing the people speaking for the rights of the Palestinians,” the young protestor said.

Many people around supported him by shouting “Free, Free Palestine” and “From the River to the Sea.”

Replying to the crowd Grannas immediately said “If you want to shout, go out, there you can shout. Because shouting is not a discussion.”

Moreover, a live stream of the event muted Grannas’ comments and then disabled the live stream for a few minutes.

The Progressive Students Collective (PSC) said “Its members had exposed the hypocrisy of the German ambassador” by questioning him on the role of Germany in the deaths in Gaza.  It also lashed out at the conference organizers, saying they had “forcefully silenced the voices of students while platforming the facilitators of Palestinian Genocide.”

Academic Nida Kirmani supported the PSC’s stance for calling out the participation of the German ambassador at the conference saying “No place for the representative of a country enabling genocide at a human rights conference. He’s the one who should have been removed,” she added.

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As Grannas resumed his speech, he stated “Mother of all basic human rights is the protection of human dignity”, as well as the inviolability of human dignity.

“When it comes to the role of the judiciary here, the Constitution guarantees the rights. But it’s the courts that interpret, safeguard, and develop further those rights,” Grannas said.

Furthermore, he noted that the judiciary’s role is to safeguard rights and prevent the substitution of the rule of law with the rule by law.

Additionally, He also highlighted that the judiciary must not only protect rights on paper but put them into practice.

Grannas praised Pakistan’s courts for interpreting the law to the people’s benefit, saying, “A very concrete example is that there is no [compulsion] in attesting in criminal procedures.”

While acknowledging the importance of such conferences, Ambassador Grannas stated that “courts do not operate in a vacuum.” “Courts need input; courts need inspiration. And these intellectual and academic discussions here, serve for the courts to draw inspiration,” he added.

The incident happened at the Asma Jahangir Conference which focuses on advocacy for human rights issues in Pakistan and the region.

The first edition of the conference took place in 2018, following the passing of Asma Jahangir, the esteemed lawyer and advocate for human rights.

However, the conference aimed to honor her legacy by hosting panel discussions centered on key themes such as fundamental rights, judicial independence, empowerment of marginalized groups, freedom of expression, and fostering regional solidarity.

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