Lawyers committed to bring genuine arbiters back: Aitzaz.

LAHORE- SCBA President and PPP stalwart Aitzaz Ahsan has said if the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) issued by General (r) Pervez Musharraf on November 3 is not scrapped, it would be a license to the every army chief to come into the civil side and impose emergency for some days and issue a constitution with amendments of his choice to oblige the government to follow it. Addressing to a highly excited legal fraternity standing between the two blocks of the Lahore High Court on the occasion of his appearance under special permission to cast vote in the LHCBA elections here on Saturday, Aitzaz said the continuation of the PCO, under which over 60 judges including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary had been deposed, would not let the Parliament to function smoothly besides hitting the fundamentals of the parliamentary form of system. By the approval of hundreds of lawyers, he expressed his firm belief that the PCO was totally unconstitutional and a measure which Musharraf pursued overstepping his powers for which he was not competent. “Lawyers don’t accept the PCO and would continue their fight to get it annulled by the upcoming government,” he said. Referring to July 20 decision by the 13-member bench of the SC regarding restoration of CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry after he was sacked by General (r) Musharraf on March 9 last, he said the decision in clear terms had set the rule that no judge of the superior judiciary could be sacked without resorting to Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution. He said the issuance of the PCO for removing the judges and the oath under the same order was outside the legal and constitutional authority. He named three judges who were also members of the said 13-member bench but they took oath under the PCO and sit in the present the SC. “How could PCO be held constitutionally valid by the Court to justify removal of the judges and fresh oath by the rest under it,” he questioned. Aitzaz made it clear that reinstatement of the deposed judges was the only way if the parliament had to run and added that legal community is providing a chance to new House to order restoration of the judges otherwise the community was geared up to take to a long march from all over the country to Islamabad on March 9 next. “The center of ‘power of gravity’ would remain with the parliament if the judges are restored otherwise it would shift to lawyers side who then would be out in the streets up in arms to press their demand, he warned. Aitzaz said so far the legal fraternity was satisfied with both PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif on their mutual agreement to restore the judges and added that the community would provide them an opportunity to realize their commitment which could be served simply by removing restrictions on the deposed judges to let them hold the court. However if leadership of the both the parties, which in sight to form a coalition government, wants the parliamentary course to do the needful, we give them a chance. According to him, the parliament did not need two-thirds majority in this context to bring in an amendment in the Constitution. He said the person who is forcing two-thirds majority is in fact, obliging the parliament to accept the PCO. He said the legal fraternity did not accept the PCO and was committed on putting the ‘genuine arbiters’ back to their courts. “CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary alongwith his three kids has been confined to the four walls of his house for over the last three and a half months. During the period his kids have not only been denied access to the school but the whole family has been subjected to supply cut of electricity, water and gas at their residence,” the SCBA President said. “This is height of oppression,” he said, adding: a caretaker minister is asking the Chief Justice to vacate the official residence.” Amid loud sound of ‘shame’ from the audience against the alleged demand of the minister, Aitzaz said, Justice Chaudhry was still the Chief Justice but Pervez Musharraf was no more an army chief and asked the minister to get the army house vacated from him instead.
link: http://www.nation.com.pk/daily/feb-2008/24/index11.php

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