ASSAD HAMEED and
ISLAMABAD – Authorities on Saturday stopped Aitzaz Ahsan, leading campaigner for the reinstatement of deposed judiciary, and his companions from entering into Supreme Court building by locking all the doors and erecting hurdles at the entry points.
President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Aitzaz Ahsan was stopped from entering into the premises of apex court when he reached there to preside over an SCBA meeting. A number of other lawyers, including the office bearers of SCBA, were also disallowed. Aitzaz and other lawyers strongly protested over the move and chanted anti-government slogans.
“The administration and present judiciary are trying to sabotage the ongoing movement of lawyers’ fraternity for the restoration of judiciary but we will stop only after achieving our goal,” Aitzaz told media persons outside the gate of apex court. He further stated that the movement of lawyers is all set to succeed in achieving its target of restoring Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges who are forced out by an illegitimate Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).
Aitzaz categorically castigated several present judges including Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar for not taking suo moto notice of the illegal detention of judges who refused to take oath under the PCO. He also asked the human rights organisations and activists to raise their voice against illegal detention of deposed judges and their families. Aitzaz said ‘Black Flag Week’ would be observed throughout Pakistan to express solidarity with the deposed judges and press demand for their immediate restoration.
Later, Aitzaz along with dozens of lawyers visited several markets of the federal capital and hoisted black flags at several offices and shops. He also spoke at these venues and asked all segments of society to back the lawyers’ movement.
The SCBA President also stated that lawyers would lodge a criminal case with police against President Musharraf and his close aides for keeping the deposed judges and their families in illegal detention. “We are waging a war for the rights of people and want independent judiciary in the country. We would start new movement for the rights of women after reinstatement of deposed judges,” he also said in context of the women day observed all over the globe on March 08.
He expressed hope that the day is not far when the country will see all the deposed judges back in the court and dispensing quick and cheaper justice for the people of Pakistan.
Aitzaz warned the newly elected Parliament to resolve the issue of judges at the earliest, otherwise the lawyers’ movement would chalk out its new course of action. He again stated that there should be no lengthy debate on how to restore judges, as they will be automatically restored when they are allowed to move freely and perform duties as judges of the superior courts.
Later, Aitzaz visited various business centres of Rawalpindi to sensitise the masses about the importance of freedom of judiciary. “I firmly believe in the sovereignty of Parliament but it could not be strengthened on the rubbles of judiciary,” Aitzaz said.
SCBA President asked and encouraged the business community to hoist black flags in protest against the unconstitutional removal of the judges of the superior courts. He walked in the streets of the narrow bazaars where all and sundry welcomed him and the traders resolved to celebrate the week with black flags on their shops and black ribbons on their arms.
The leader of the lawyers addressed a big gathering of business community and common people near Lal Haveli of former federal minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed. Thanking the traders and MNA-elect Hanif Abbasi who also represented business community, Aitzaz said though they have decided to hoist black flags at bars around the country, the participation of traders would be encouraging, as an independent judiciary is desired by every Pakistani.
The procession then moved to Sarafa Bazaar (Jewellery Market) where the jewellers showed the premier lawyer a golden crown that they have prepared for the sacked CJ and would present to him on his reinstatement after his permission.
Speaking on the occasion Aitzaz said they put off the idea of long march to give more time to the new government for the restoration of the judges but if their demands were not met, there would be more intensity in their ongoing movement. He said the lawyers have no political agenda and they only want the supremacy of law and independence of judiciary.
Long black flags and banners are seen on all the routes from where the procession passed. The traders’ bodies ensured their all-out support to the legal fraternity and vowed to observe ‘Black Flag Week’.
ASSAD HAMEED and