ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Lawyers boycotted courts and staged rallies all over the country to express solidarity with deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
On the Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) call, lawyers recorded their protest and took out rallies for the independence and supremacy of the judiciary.
Clashes were witnessed between lawyers and police as police tried to stop the angry lawyers trying to enter Constitutional Avenue. Lawyers pitted against police in their struggle to march forward at Radio Pakistan Chowk and near Pak Secretariat in Islamabad. Several lawyers were injured and six arrested during fierce clashes with the police.
Despite heavy police presence, lawyers broke through the barricades and reached the Supreme Court building. Supreme Court Bar Secretary General Chaudhry Muhammad Amin was declined entry to the Supreme Court building that prompted lawyers to rage about the incident. According to a report the Supreme Court Bar Association has decided to observe Thursday as ‘protest day’ across the country.
Addressing a joint press conference in Rawalpindi on Thursday, the lawyers’ leaders vowed to continue their struggle until the reinstatement of all judges with dignity and honour.
They announced that ‘Iftikhar Day’ would be observed on September 23 while an iftar dinner would be held in honour of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry the next day. They also announced their plan to start another long march for the acceptance of their demands.
Those who addressed the press conference included Lahore High Court President Sardar Asmat Ullah Khan, Rawalpindi Bench Bar Association Secretary General Siddique Awan and Rawalpindi District Bar Association President Sardar Tariq. Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan, while addressing a weekly protest rally in Lahore, said that judges who took fresh oaths had endorsed the unconstitutional acts of November 3.
Political and civil society organisations also attended the rally. Lawyers boycotted the proceedings of high court and subordinate courts on Thursday. Full-house meetings of bars were held in which government was criticised for its anti-judiciary policies. Protesters staged a sit-in protest at PMG Chowk while an American flag was burnt at Faisal Chowk in front of the Punjab Assembly building.
Aitzaz said it was true that oath-taking by some judges affected the lawyers’ movement but they would not be deterred from holding protests. He said the movement had entered a critical phase. He was critical of political leadership, saying politicians had disappointed lawyers.