LAHORE – As a measure to fuel movement for the restoration of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to the office of Chief Justice, particularly after the victory of Ali Ahmad Kurd, lawyers have announced to hold two-hour sit-in at any point of public value at the level of their respective bar throughout the country on November 3 to mark the Black Day on the completion of one year to the PCO which General (r) Pervez Musharraf had brought in to sack over 60 judges of the Superior Judiciary including the CJP.
The countrywide legal fraternity, (excluding Balochistan for being quake-hit) would also hold protest meetings and take out rallies carrying black flags in addition to observing courts boycott.
The mega show on the said date is a joint meeting of Rawalpindi High Court Bar and Rawalpindi Bar Association to which Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will address.
Addressing a press conference on his last day in the office of SCBA president, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan Friday said, Justice Chaudhry would not take part in the sit-in which would be held following his address at the Parade Ground, Islamabad, on the Black Day. In his speech, Aitzaz said, Justice Chaudhry was going to make startling disclosures which he previously kept to himself after March 9 last year when he was suspended as CJP and pitched against a criminal reference by General Musharraf, which was later on spurned by the judiciary.
Aitzaz has announced the Black Day on November 3 every year saying the day marks the ‘anniversary of the start of miseries of the oppressed Pakistanis’ in the wake of sacking of Justice Chaudhry who was providing them a big relief through suo motu and other cases of public importance.
Flanked by former president SACBA Hamid Khan, president LHCBA Anwar Kamal and others Aitzaz Ahsan lamented the political parities, particularly PPP government, for failing to honour the commitment to restore Justice Chaudhry. He said elections in the country were held under pressure of the lawyers movement as a result of which the present set up came into being but Justice Chaudhry was not restored despite repeated commitments made by the government, which was a deplorable feature of the ‘high functionaries in rule’ at present. To a question whether he would side with the lawyers or the PPP, as the lawyers anger is turning towards Asif Ali Zardari, Aitzaz said politically he would remain affiliated to his party but he would not leave the movement and would continue to be its part and soldier. He said the arrest and detention of a chief justice was an unprecedented incident in the judicial history and the lawyers movement was not merely to stand up against this injustice but given the current situation, to save the county as well from economic collapse and other threats to her. He reminded the word spoken by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto outside the residence of the then incarcerated Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry that he was her chief justice and on coming to power she would put him back in the office with due respect. He said party leadership and workers still owe fulfillment of this promise of the Shaheed leader.
Aitzaz Ahsan informed the media about the future programme of Justice Chaudhry and said the ‘deposed’ CJP would move to Sialkot by G T Road on November 8 next to address the Gujranwala Division Bars and then he would leave for New York, USA, on Nov 15 to address the largest bar in the world, New York Bar Association on November 17 where he would also be awarded honorary membership of the Bar.
On November 18, Justice Chaudhry would lecture at Fordham Law College while on November 19 he would receive Medal of Freedom at Harvard University as third recipient after Justice Marshall and Nelson Mandela in the 360 years history of this academia. He said the Pakistanis in America and the US legal fraternity as well as academicians were looking forward to the visit Justice Chaudhry, who, he added, also got invitations from many other institutions and bars in US and would go there if the scheduled allowed.
Aitzaz on behalf of his cabinet thanked the lawyers and the people for according them a thorough support during the one-year stint fraught with the efforts to restore the judiciary. In the end Hafiz Abdul Rahman Ansari offered fatiha for the people killed in Balochistan quake