Supreme Court Thursday witnessed a milestone achieved on the appearance of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani before a seven-member apex court bench in contempt notice. Meantime, lawyers were seen fully charged expressing solidarity with the judiciary and raising slogans in favor of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry. Earlier, the PM Gilani showed up at the court in accompaniment of ministers and advisers; however, they were received with the slogans for the court.
Talking to media on the occasion, Justice (rtd.) Tariq Mehmood said it is not appropriate attitude to pressure the courts. Various representatives from different Bar Associations said they will not allow any compromise on the independence of the judiciary.
Lawyers take principled stance in SC premises
A group of lawyers raised anti-Government slogans and criticized Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan when he was talking to media after defending the case of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in the Supreme Court on Thursday. They were disappointed over the conduct of the man who, once upon a time, played a leading role in the movement for independence of the judiciary and was considered to be a close confidant of the (deposed) Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary.
There are no two opinions that Aitzaz Ahsan spearheaded the movement for restoration of the judges and earned immense respectability as his stance was clearly different from the declared policy and actions of the ruling party to which he belonged. But now he is a totally changed man as he has taken a 180-degree turn on the issue of Swiss accounts of President Asif Ali Zardari and writing of the letter by the Government to the Swiss authorities for reopening of the cases. Electronic media repeatedly ran a clip in which Aitzaz Ahsan said on 24th May 2010 without mincing words that writing of the letter was binding on the Government of Pakistan and the letter written by former Attorney-General Malik Abdul Qayyum should be withdrawn. He also added that now that the apex court has given directives on the issue, there is no escape for the Government but to obey and write the letter. It is because of this change of heart that Aitzaz attracted ire of a group of lawyers for his unprincipled approach. This group of lawyers, which was in fact representing sentiments and views of the majority of the legal fraternity and people of Pakistan, was not against any individual or favouring any person but was only protesting against timeserving approach of Aitzaz. Though the Barrister claimed that the views he expressed about writing of letter to the Swiss Government in the past were his personal opinion and what he said in the apex court on Thursday was in line with the directions of his client but one doesn’t expect a person of the stature of Aitzaz to go against dictates of the conscience. This typical behaviour of proving day as night and write as black for the sake of justifying the fee and protecting the client at all costs is poisonous for the rule of law and dispensation of justice. As for lawyers, who protested against Aitzaz, they were with the judiciary in the past and are expressing solidarity with it once again.