ISLAMABAD: As the Pakistan Bar Council expelled two key leaders of the judges’ movement and warned others, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan on Saturday announced that lawyers would stage countrywide two-hour sit-ins on August 28 if the coalition partners failed to restore the deposed judges of the superior courts.
Addressing a press conference here after holding a meeting of the National Coordination Council (NCC), President Supreme Court Bar Association Aitzaz Ahsan announced the action plan prepared by the NCC, which includes countrywide sit-in protests on August 28. The lawyers’ representatives from across the country would assemble at the Constitution Avenue on September 4 to stage a peaceful protest in front of the Parliament House. He added that all the bar associations at district and Tehsil levels would stage sit-ins for two hours from 12 noon to 2:00 pm.
On this occasion, the SCBA president announced the formation of a committee, comprising former SCBA president Munir A Malik, Sardar Asmatullah Khan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood, to coordinate with all the bar associations across the country for arrangements of two-hour sit-ins in their respective areas.
Aitzaz Ahsan, however, said that if the coalition government restored the deposed judges by August 28, the legal fraternity would celebrate. He also announced that till the restoration of the deposed judges, black flags would be hoisted at all courts across the country. He said lawyers across the country would pinpoint a place in their respective areas, including districts and Tehsils, to Sardar Asmatullah for staging sit-ins on August 28, which would be approved.
The SCBA president appealed to the civil society, student unions, trade unions, political workers and women organisations to ensure their maximum participation in the two-hour sit-ins on August 28 for the restoration of the deposed judges. He, however, reiterated that sit-ins and demonstrations would be peaceful and advised the legal fraternity to remain peaceful in their cause.
Aitzaz asked the business community to observe shutter-down strike for two hours on August 28.
Meanwhile, through a resolution adopted unanimously at the NCC meeting, the SCBA strongly condemned the move of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) to replace its chairman Executive Committee Rasheed A Razvi and cancelling the membership of Hamid Khan as member Executive Committee.
Aitzaz lauded the efforts of Rashid A Razvi and Ali Ahmed Kurd for their untiring efforts since the movement for the restoration of the judiciary was launched by the legal fraternity.
Addressing a separate press conference, Pakistan Bar Council Vice-Chairman Syed Rehman said that the PBC would not allow anyone to hijack the lawyers’ movement for the reinstatement of the deposed judges and claimed that, being the parent body of the legal fraternity of the country, it was the prerogative of the council to lead the movement. He made it clear that the PBC would lead the movement instead of the SCBA.
It was a clear message for Aitzaz Ahsan, the SCBA president, who is considered the leader of the movement to follow the PBC decisions.
He announced that the PBC would convene a meeting on September 12 to devise its future plan of action and strengthen the movement for the restoration of the judiciary. The PBC leader claimed that the lawyers’ movement took its start at a time when Aitzaz was not even elected as the president of the SCBA.
Said Rehman, however, vowed to continue the struggle for the restoration of the November 2, 2007 judiciary and rejected the minus-one formula.
He said the PBC will not endorse the unconstitutional steps taken by Pervez Musharraf and was not in favour of giving indemnity to the former president. Meanwhile, PBC member Pervez Inyat Malik told reporters that the council had approved the decision of replacing Rasheed A Razvi by Yaseen Azad as chairman PBC Executive Committee and had cancelled the membership of Hamid Khan as member executive committee.
The meeting was attended by 17 members of the council and 14 members voted for this decision, he added. Those who apposed the decisions included Ali Ahmed Kurd, Rasheed A Razvi and Abdul Rehman Ansari.
Meanwhile, Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek gave Rs 50 million cheque to the PBC. Naek reiterated that a resolution would be tabled in parliament on Monday for the reinstatement of the deposed judges. He said the government was committed to resolving the issue as early as possible.
“The decision taken by parliament will have to be accepted by all forces regarding the reinstatement of the deposed judges,” Naek added.