By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, May 24: The Supreme Court Bar Association has cautioned the government against limiting the tenure of the supreme court chief justice to three years, which would effectively eliminate Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s post, and said that the legal fraternity would consider it to be the ‘minus-one’ formula.
This was stated by SCBA’s president Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan on Saturday after attending a meeting of the PPP’s CEC which was held here under the party co-chairperson Asif Zardari. During the meeting, Mr Zardari said he wanted to hold consultations with lawyers to settle the issue.
“We have no two opinions on the judges’ issue. We all want to reinstate them but we have different points of view on modalities,” Mr Zardari told media personnel after the meeting.
“We will hold dialogue with the lawyers and … the judiciary,” Mr Zardari said.
Although Mr Ahsan had agreed to Mr Zardari’s suggestion, he explained that the package had still not been finalised.
“But we will continue giving our input,” he said, adding that any suggestion to reduce the chief justice’s tenure would not be acceptable.
The deposed chief justice has already said that he would continue in office till his retirement in 2013. If the tenure is limited to three years, Justice Iftikhar would have to leave his office this year.
Meanwhile, Mr Ahsan’s absence delayed the chief justice’s convoy for almost three-and-a-half hours, making Justice Iftikhar leave for Faisalabad without him.
The lawyers decided to go ahead with Haroon-ur-Rashid, the president of the Islamabad Bar Association, driving the lead vehicle. Barrister Ahsan later joined the caravan halfway at the Kalar Kahar Motorway Interchange.
The caravan was sent off with fanfare by a large number of lawyers and representatives of the civil society.
Slogans in favour of the deposed chief justice and against President Musharraf were chanted and flags of the Pakistan Muslim Leaque-N, Jamaat-i-Islami and the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf were seen.
Islamabad police and Punjab police provided police escort.