FAISALABAD/CHAKWAL: Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry’s caravan left the Kamalpur interchange at midnight.
Justice Iftikhar left Islamabad at 2:30pm and was accompanied by senior lawyers, including SCBA President Aitzaz Ahsen, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Ahmed Khan, Sardar Asmatullah and Haroon Rasheed.
The motorcade comprised over 300 vehicles and 800 lawyers. Besides, some 35 camps were also set up along the route where the caravan stopped briefly. When the convoy reached near the Kamalpur interchange, it was joined by a large number of political activists, mainly of the PML-N. Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah also joined the convoy near Kamalpur, a town situated some 15km from Faisalabad.
Political activists looked charged and chanted slogans against President Musharraf and for Nawaz Sharif and Justice Chaudhry, who waved from the vehicle. The caravan was expected to reach Faisalabad by 1am.
Our Chakwal correspondent adds: Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was received at Balkassar interchange on Saturday by thousands of people including members of civil society and lawyers belonging to Chakwal and Talagang.
The charged people showered the jeep of Justice Iftikhar with rose petals as Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz also joined the deposed judge after attending the meeting of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee.
Punjab Bar Council Member Hassan Raza Pasha, District Bar Chakwal President Ch Asad Masood, Talagang Tehsil Bar President Malik Tariq Mehmood, PML-N’s MNA Sardar Faiz Tamman, Ex-MPA Ch Liaqat Ali Khan, Ex-MPA Colonel Sultan Surkhro, Pir Nisar Qasim, Sahibzada Abdul Qadus Naqashbandi of JUI-S, Ch Amir Khan and Zafar Iqbal of Jamat Islami, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Dullah of Pakistan Awami Group, District Chakwal’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf President Doctor Habib-Ullah Afraidi, Chief Organizer advocate Malik Shahid Iqbal were present.
Chants of ‘go Musharraf go’ were raised as thousands of people marched with the jeep of Justice Iftikhar. Chakwal DPO Ishfaq Ahmad Khan supervised the security with police commandos, Elite Force and Police Panther Squad escorting the jeep of Justice Iftikhar.
Senior lawyer Ali Ahmad Kurd addressed on the occasion. He said he was confident the movement of lawyers had entered a decisive stage as all the sacked judges would be restored before June 10. In case the judges were not reinstated, he said, the lawyers were ready for a long march on June 10.
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was accorded a rousing welcome also at Kallar Kahar interchange where PML-N MPA Malik Tanvir Aslam, Malik Muhmmad Aslam, Tehsil Choa Saiden Shah Bar President Raja Asad Raza, political workers and people from all walks of life received him. People here also raised slogans against President Musharraf.
Meanwhile lawyers observed strike Saturday and boycotted the courts at Chakwal, Talagang and Choa Saiden Shah, much to the inconvenience of litigants.
Agencies add: Lawyers stepped up their campaign for the return of deposed judges as hundreds of vehicles packed with black-suited lawyers escorted Justice Iftikhar from his home in Islamabad.
Ali Ahmad Kurd said the lawyers would not hesitate in offering sacrifices for supremacy of judiciary. Talking to media people outside Justice Iftikhar’s residence he said they were giving a message to the government to let the caravan proceed peacefully to Faisalabad.
He said the government was reluctant to keep their promises as to the restoration of the deposed judiciary. However, he added, lawyers would not allow them to back out from the promises made to the people.
He said lawyers appreciated the Punjab government for extending protocol to the chief justice as a good gesture and “we thank the Punjab government for participating in the movement for the restoration of judiciary.”