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More on Pakistan 'love note' storm

india Updated: Jun 28, 2006 12:40 IST

Adding a fresh twist to the raging controversy over a "love note" in Pakistan's Sindh provincial assembly, legislator Ishwar Lal who had been beaten up by colleagues for allegedly writing it has finally turned to police for help.

After keeping quiet for a week while the debate raged in the media and the public, Lal, who allegedly wrote the note to a woman colleague, Tuesday filed a first information report (FIR) in a police station in Karachi, the Daily Times said.

He has complained of being beaten up by four opposition legislators, Munawar Abbasi, Murad Ali Shah, Salim Hingoro and Mohammad Nawaz Chandio, on June 21 when proceedings of the Sindh assembly were on.

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) legislator has also named Leader of Opposition Nisar Khuhro, making specific charges of attack, threat to murder and attempt to murder.

Khuhro has said he was "proud" to be named in the FIR and has threatened that the entire opposition would court arrest if any of the five was detained by the police.

The battle has turned political with the opposition terming the police complaint "a conspiracy" hatched by the Sindh government.

The controversy was triggered by a note, variously called "love note", "objectionable chit" and just a "chit", that Lal sent to opposition legislator Shazia Atta Mohammed Mari from the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), apparently inquiring about her well-being.

Mari passed the note to her colleagues and four of them rushed to Lal while the proceedings were on, caught him by the collar and beat him up. The media the next day said Lal was "thrashed royally".

According to Lal, he merely asked "aap kaisi hain" (how are you), since Mari had been keeping unwell. But Mari denies this and alleges that Lal had been "after her", sending messages on her cell phone.

The matter has been intensely debated with human rights organisations speaking up for Mari and Christian leaders complaining of intolerance against the minorities.

Khuhro argues that the assembly speaker, while suspending Lal, had also suspended the four attackers. "They have been punished and they cannot be punished twice."

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