RAWALPINDI – Reiterating their stance regarding the complete freedom of judiciary and supremacy of law, senior lawyers and office-bearers of Lahore High Court Bar Association have refused to accept any kind of ‘Reform Package’ without the restoration of all the judges of superior courts including the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary.
Giving warning to the ruling coalition of a strong protest across the country, the lawyers’ representatives urged them to restore all the judges who denied to take oath under Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) after declaration of emergency by General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf the then Chief of Army Staff, on November 3, 2007.
They also stressed upon the ruling coalition that they should reinstate all the judges according to the spirit of Murree Accord within 30 days, otherwise the lawyers along with the civil society would be compelled to start countrywide protest against the rulers.
These views were expressed by Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Rawalpindi president advocate Sardar Asmatullah Khan, former Bar president advocate Muhammad Ikram Chaudhary, former member Punjab Bar Council advocate Ibadurrehman Lodhi, secretary general LHCBA advocate Malik Muhammad Siddique Awan and member LHCBA executive committee advocate Muhammad Anwar Dar in a forum organized by The Nation here on Friday.
President LHCBA Rawalpindi Sardar Asmatullah remarked that defeat of PML (Q) in the recent elections was the outcome of the movement initiated by lawyers, civil society, the masses and political leadership and activists for the independence of judiciary.
“The results of polls make it crystal-clear that Pakistani people have strongly reacted against the dictatorial steps of General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf and it has created an obvious differentiating line between the masses and the President,” he added.
However, he maintained that the present ruling political parties must have learnt a lesson and should not deviate from ‘Murree Accord’.
Castigating a statement of Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar in which he declared President Musharraf a ‘national asset’, LHCBA president strongly condemned the statement of Federal Minister and demanded from the government to clear its position in this regard.
He also termed all the speculations regarding the restoration of deposed Chief Justice as an attempt to confuse and shake the determination of lawyers and added alleging that the presidency and other elements are behind all these kinds of activities.
Former LHCBA president advocate Muhammad Ikram Chaudhary said that some positive hopes emerged after the declaration of ‘Murree Accord’ and a firm opinion came into light from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Awami National Party (ANP).
But, he lamented that some statements of Asif Ali Zardari and Federal Minister Farooq Naik expressed some shaky view of the government coalition.
He also said that the announcement of halting the struggle of lawyers for the restoration of judges on Sukhur Airport was not right rather the decision should be made after consulting the lawyers.
Advocate Ikram Chaudhary also reiterated to continue their struggle till all the restoration of all the judges and also demanded to convene a lawyers convention in this regard.
Punjab Bar Council former member advocate Ibadurrehman said that parliament could annul all the steps of General Musharraf taken by him including Article 270 AAA after November 3, 2007.
He also expected that in this way, all the matters facing the country would be resolved.
LHCBA secretary general advocate Malik Siddique Awan said that Pakistani people had rejected Musharraf policies by casting votes against his favourite political party PML (Q).
He remarked that people wanted to see Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary as Chief Justice of Pakistan in all circumstances.
Advocate Anwar Dar member LHCBA executive committee said that lawyers endured all the hardships and tyranny of a dictator for a noble cause of independence of judiciary and supremacy of law but they did not retreat even a single inch from their stance.
He said that they were still ready to face all kinds of music for the cause.