Lawyers set August 14 deadline
The News, July 20, 2008
By Wajih Ahmad Sheikh
LAHORE: The All Pakistan Lawyers Representatives Conference on Saturday set August 14 as the deadline for the government to restore the judiciary to its pre-Nov 3 status. In case this does not happen, the conference unanimously decided that the legal fraternity would intensify its struggle through a number of protest strategies, including sit-ins across the country, including outside parliament, stepping up the boycott of court proceedings, blocking courtrooms, organising countrywide marches and resorting to civil disobedience.
The National Coordination Council will meet on August 15 at the High Court Bar Association’s Rawalpindi office if the judiciary was not restored to its pre-Nov 3 status, to give a concrete shape to these decisions, Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) president Anwar Kamal said, while talking to reporters after the conference held at the Karachi Shuhada Hall of the LHCBA.
The conference was attended by lawyers’ representatives from across the country, including SCBA President Aitzaz Ahsan, PBC vice chairman Saidur Rehman, PBC executive committee chairman Rasheed A Rizvi, PBC members Ali Ahmad Kurd, Hamid Khan, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Ansari and Imdad Ali Awan.
The conference passed various resolutions to give a boost to the ongoing lawyers’ movement. The conference vowed to continue the movement to its logical end ñ the restoration of all the deposed judges.
The conference held that the parties that continued to remain in the ruling coalition after August 14 will be viewed by the legal fraternity as condoning the proclamation of the November 3 emergency.
Lawyers’ leaders at the conference unequivocally rejected the provisions of the proposed constitutional package in relation to the superior judiciary. They were of the view that the proposals on appointment, tenure, removal, and curtailment of suo motu powers were a complete negation of the principle of the separation of powers and an independent pro-people judiciary capable of realising their fundamental rights, especially those of the weaker sections of society.
The conference resolved that with a view to increase the momentum of the lawyersí movement and to sharpen the struggle, the implementation committee of the long march should be reconstituted. The National Coordination Council will meet at regular intervals for a periodic review of the situation and lay down guidelines for the struggle.
The conference also paid tributes to the judges who despite temptations dangled before them by the establishment have stood by their oath to protect, preserve and defend constitutionalism and remained steadfast on their principled stand rejecting the unconstitutional steps of November 3.
The conference was dismayed that the new government had disappointed the people of Pakistan by failing to restore the Nov-2 judiciary. The lawyersí leaders observed that the time has come for all the political parties in the ruling coalition to keep their promise to restore the deposed judges. ìThe failure to address this issue is impeding the solution to the grave economic crisis that is imperilling the lives of the poor,î the conference observed.