LAHORE: In a decisive general house meeting Thursday the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) cancelled the membership of Attorney General Latif Khan Khosa and banned his entry into the bar, demanding the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other deposed judges.
In addition, the bar also banned the entry of Law Minister Farooq H Naek into the bar on account of his stance on the judges’ issue. This step came in protest against what the lawyers called the pick-and-choose policy of the PPP government instead of reinstating the deposed judges.
After the general house meeting, the LBA led a rally to Post Master General (PMG) Chowk where it staged a sit-in for 15 minutes. Because of Ramazan, the LBA did not join its colleagues at the Lahore High Court Bar Association which took out a separate rally led by Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan.
Starting from the high court bar, Aitzaz Ahsan and Hamid Khan marched with lawyers to the Charing Cross in front of the building of the Punjab Assembly for the reinstatement of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other deposed judges who did not take oath under the November PCO of former president Pervez Musharraf.
The workers of PML-N, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Pakhtoon Khawa Milli Awami Party, Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party, Labour Party and Khaksar Tehrik accompanied the lawyers. They also chanted slogans in favour of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges.
After reaching the Punjab Assembly building, the protesters scattered in several groups and chanted slogans for the restoration of the deposed judges. Representatives of political parties underlined the need to restore the judges to save the country from an impending disaster.
Earlier, Aitzaz came to the general house meeting of the LHCBA and proposed making teams of young lawyers for running the campaign for Ali Ahmad Kurd for the presidential slot of the Supreme Court Bar Association in the next election.
He termed the election for the office of the SCBA president as the most crucial in the campaign for the restoration of the deposed judges.
In the general house meeting of the LHCBA, lawyers underlined the need to continue the movement and gave arguments against what they called the impression that the movement had died down with the fresh oath to several deposed judges. “The judges, who have accepted a fresh oath, were full of regret. They would not get what they desired while accepting an offer that was contrary to the lawyers’ demand,” said Nisar Safdar advocate, while addressing the lawyers.
Raja Shahzad Rathore criticised the members of the Pakistan Bar Council who, he said, stabbed their colleagues by opposing the movement for the restoration of the deposed judges.
Allah Bakhsh Gondal advocate said those ditching the movement would look back at their action with regret. He added he felt sorry for some of his colleagues who had joined hands with the government.
Former Lahore High Court Bar Association President Hafiz Abdur Rehman Ansari said the young lawyers, the driving force in the campaign, were not disheartened over departure of a few judges. He criticised Attorney General Sardar Latif Khan Khosa for stating even Asif Ali Zardari could not restore the judges and warned him of cancellation of his membership of the bar. He praised Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani’s wife, who had opposed his move to accept the fresh oath of office.
Former Supreme Court Bar Association President Hamid Khan said the campaign for an independent judiciary could not fail because it was a battle between right and the wrong. He added the movement would pick up again after the holy month of Ramazan.
He asked lawyers to run the campaign for the election of Ali Ahmad Kurd for the presidential slot of the Supreme Court Bar Association.