RAWALPINDI: Lawyers on Monday, showing a lack of trust in the government, reaffirmed their resolve to continue their struggle for reinstatement of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on the first anniversary of imposition of emergency rule by former president Pervez Musharraf. Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Ali Ahmed Kurd, former president Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, High Court Bar President Sardar Asmat Ullah Khan, and District Bar President Tariq Masood addressed a national convention as part of ‘Black Day’ in Rawalpindi District Bar. The chief guest on the occasion was deposed CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Ali Ahmed Kurd said the legal community did not accept steps taken by a dictator on November 3. “Musharraf clamped a state of emergency by sacking 60 judges and banning around 50 private TV channels and FM radios,” he held.
He demanded the government restore the pre-November judiciary. Kurd also said the government must repeal black laws. “We want restoration of deposed CJP at once”, he said. “We have started our journey for the supremacy of the Constitution and Parliament. We don’t believe in politics of confrontation. We have enough fuel and strength both but we don’t want to use it because the country is facing difficult challenges,” he maintained.
Kurd said the lawyers’ movement has no political agenda.
He also said Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naek’s offer would be considered in today’s (Tuesday) meeting of SCBA and talks would be held with the government only of the lawyers approved of it.
Later talking to the media, the SCBA president rejected the impression that the lawyers’ movement had weakened, saying it had entered its 3rd stage and the struggle would continued until reinstatement of all judges. He said lawyers have been on the roads for the last 18 months, adding that they have no political objectives and only want independence of the judiciary. He said the SCBA elections reflected that the lawyers’ movement had the support of the masses.
Aitzaz Ahsan said Kurd was now the commander of the lawyers’ movement and he was his soldier. He said representatives of the civil society had invigorated the lawyers’ movement. He said Chaudhry Iftikhar’s admirers were innumerable. He said the situation in the country would improve when there would be the rule of law and an independent judiciary.
Ahsan said Nov 3was “Black Day in the history of Pakistan. “All actions taken by the dictator on November 3 were illegal, be against the judiciary or media. The government should have restored the pre-November 3 situation,” he said.
Aitzaz said for a free judiciary there was no constitutional package or Farooq Naek’s formula. He said that the New York Bar, the world’s largest bar association, would be giving honorary membership to the deposed chief justice on November 17. He also said Harvard University, which in its history has given only two awards– one to the Justice Marshall and the second to Nelson Mandela – would now give a third award to Iftikhar Chaudhry in Boston on November 19. Aitzaz Ahsan winded up his speech reciting his popular poem ‘Adal’.
Meanwhile, High Court Bar President Sardar Asmat Ullah Khan said after the February 18 polls, it was a general perception that real democracy had prevailed in the country but that proved wrong. He said Benazir Bhutto sacrificed her life for the country but the government was not following in her footsteps. “We will not accept the minus one formula and want our CJP back”, he said.
On Monday, lawyers boycotted courts in all big and small cities. The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and district bar associations went on full-day strike in Lahore. The protesting lawyers took out rallies and pro-Iftikhar Chaudhry slogans were chanted as lawyers vowed to continue their struggle until the reinstatement of all deposed judges.