PRESS RELEASE: Thursday, 28th March, 2008.
In a statement issued here from his residence, where he is detained, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, President Supreme Court Bar Association, said that a Long March scheduled for March 09 has been postponed to give Parliament time to restore the deposed judges. It has not been cancelled. The lawyers, he said, appreciated the concern of the Parliamentarians and the leadership of the political parties to permit Parliament to meet and take steps for the restoration of the judges in the first instance.
Aitzaz, however, said that two of the most unfortunate days in our history fell in the year 2007. On March 9, none other than the Chief Justice of Pakistan was arrested. On December 27 a much greater and far more enormous tragedy struck. The most important leader of the country Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was martyred. The nation continues to mourn her. Lawyers have decided to commemorate both days with sorrow.
Aitzaz said that presently March 9th to 16th would be commemorated as the BLACK FLAG WEEK in and outside Pakistan . Those opposing Musharraf and seeking the restoration of the deposed judges will fly “Black Flags” through out the week as per the following recommended programme:
• On Sunday 9th March Provincial Bar Councils to hold conventions of Representative Lawyers presided over by a deposed judge at the Provincial Headquarters and hoist black flags.
• On the Monday 10th and Thursday 13th all Bar Associations will hoist Black Flags at 10.00 a.m. and after speeches by the President and other members will take out rallies. There will also be a Complete Strike on these two days. Arrangements are being made to relay the address of the SCBA President and the CJP on these two days at one and the same time to all the Bar Associations of Pakistan.
• Rallying lawyers will only carry black flags and black banners. Photographs of the CJP, CJs of Sindh and NWFP and lawyers who were detained may also be carried.
• On other days of the week, the flag hoisting ceremony will take place every day and the General Body will meet. Speakers will address the House.
• Special resolutions will be passed, every day, to appreciate the courage of the three school-going children of the Chief Justice of Pakistan who have been in complete detention since November 3 and have not complained.
• Lawyers will distribute black flags, arm bands, and head bands during the rallies and at other times among the public. Although it will remain a lawyers’ protest, students, civil society and party cadres may join with party as well as black flags.
• All students, particularly of law, may volunteer to help the Bar Associations.
• From March 3 onwards, Press briefings will be given daily by all office bearers of all Bar Associations stating the progress of the preparations for the lawyers’ BLACK FLAG WEEK in their district and area.
• In this regard Bar Office-bearers will contact students, businessmen, traders, professional and women organizations, chambers, trade unions for logistical assistance and support.
Aitzaz said that the Lawyers’ Long March has been postponed but not cancelled. A date for it would be announced, if necessary, after the Parliament has convened. The Black Flag Week will be a soft preparatory step to the Long March and will re-energize lawyers and the Lawyers’ Movement.
President, Supreme Court Bar Association