Lawyers up in arms again
|Thu, 03 Jul 2008 21:00:19
|By THE NEWS
|RAWALPINDI: The lawyers across the country on Thursday observed a complete boycott of courts and took out their weekly protest rallies for the restoration of non-functional judges.
Hunger strike camps and general house meetings of bar associations were also held in which the lawyers leaders pledged to keep the ongoing movement alive until the judges were restored.
In Lahore, the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) and the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) held rallies. A rally started from the Aiwan-e-Adl and culminated at the Punjab Assembly Chowk. Lawyers of LHCBA joined the rally at GPO Chowk.
After the bitter ending of the long march in Islamabad the lawyers' weekly protest rallies have lost momentum and it was believed that the lawyers could not keep their movement alive. However, on Thursday the lawyers were enthusiastic and pledged that they would not rest until the accomplishment of their objectives.
Activists of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, the Jamat-e-Islami, the Khaksaar Tehreek, the Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) and civil society organisations also participated in the protest rally.
At Punjab Assembly Chowk, lawyers staged a sit-in and demanded the immediate resignation of President Pervez Musharraf. Slogans such as "Go Musharraf Go" and "PCO judges not acceptable" were chanted by participants of the rally.
PTI activists also chanted slogans against PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for not honouring the Murree Declaration which envisaged restoration of all 'deposed' judges. During the rally, The Mall and other adjoining roads were blocked with barricades and commuters remained stuck in the traffic mess for hours.
Earlier, addressing the general house meeting of LHCBA, lawyer leaders strongly condemned the PPP for supporting President Musharraf and using delaying tactics in the restoration of 'deposed' judges in accordance with the Murree Declaration.
The general house was addressed by President Anwar Kamal, Vice President Mian Muhammad Aslam, Secretary Rana Asadullah Khan, former Finance Secretary Rabbiya Bajwa, Dil Afroz Subhani, Hafiz Abdur Rehman Ansari, Hamid Khan and Ahmed Awais.
Adopting a resolution, the house demanded immediate restoration of judges and urged the ruling coalition of the PPP and the PML-N not to compromise its principled stance on judges' issue.
The house by adopting another resolution termed PCO judges as 'assassins' of the Constitution and prestige of judiciary by taking oath under the PCO of President Musharraf. The meeting through a resolution held that PPP was providing "oxygen" to the regime of President Musharraf which was near its logical end.
Our correspondents add: Lawyers of the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) also set up a hunger strike camp and boycotted the court proceedings on Thursday. Addressing the participants of a protest rally outside Kutchery, IBA President Haroon Rasheed said that the lawyers would show power and stage a protest demonstration at the Constitutional Avenue on July 10.
The legal fraternity of Rawalpindi also staged a protest rally against President Pervez Musharraf. The lawyers vowed to continue their struggle till the restoration of the deposed judges.
In Peshawar, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) held a general body meeting. It unanimously passed a resolution demanding of the government to restore the non-functional judges of the Supreme Court forthwith.
Likewise, the legal fraternity of Swat also boycotted the courts to show solidarity with the non-functional judges. Lawyers protests held in Chakwal and other cities of the country. Sohail Khan adds from Islamabad: Meanwhile, talking to a lawyers' delegation, which called on him here at his official residence at Judges Enclave, deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that legally he is still the Chief Justice of Pakistan and vowed that the lawyers' movement for the restoration of judiciary and rule of law would yield positive results and the lawyers' community would soon achieve its ultimate goal.
The delegation was led by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Secretary Chaudhry Amin Javed. During the meeting Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry expressed satisfaction at the movement launched by the legal fraternity across the country for the restoration of judiciary and rule of law and hoped that soon the lawyers would succeed in their cause.
Later talking to The News, Chaudhry Amin Javed said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry rejected the reports appearing in the press that he would lead the lawyers' movement being launched across the country for the restoration of November 2, judiciary.
"Legally, I am still the chief justice of Pakistan that's why I would not lead the lawyers' movement," Chaudhry Amin Javed quoted Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as saying.
He said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed the confidence in the present leadership of lawyers' movement and hoped that the leadership would continue its struggle for the independence of judiciary, supremacy of the constitution and rule of law.
He said that Justice Chaudhry stressed that the struggle launched by the legal fraternity for the restoration of judiciary should continue and asked the lawyers' to forge unit among their ranks for the cause of independence of judiciary and rule of law.
Other member of the delegation included Ghulam Nabi Bhatti, the Vice President, SCBA, Punjab; Saeed Akhtar, the Vice President, NWFP; Rasheed Awan, Additional Secretary, SCBA and others.
Earlier, SCBA Secretary Chaudhry Amin Javed, along with lawyers, gave a sit-in at the Supreme Court building for some time and demanded of the government to restore the deposed judges of the apex court.
They also demanded implementation of Muree Declaration in letter and spirit and urged the government to restore the deposed judges of the apex court. The lawyers vowed to continue their struggle for the independence of judiciary and expressed the determination to continue their movement till the restoration of November 2, 2007 judiciary. They said that they would not accept the judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).