One year on: ‘Black flag week’ begins.

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By By our correspondent

Karachi Bar Association hoisted more than 100 black flags at the City Courts premises on Saturday as a mark of solidarity with the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was rendered non-functional last year on March 9 by Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

All the Bar associations of the country, including Karachi Bar and Malir Bar associations have chalked out elaborated programmes for “black flag week” (March 9-16) in line with the call of Supreme Court Bar Association.

On the eve of March 9, black flags were hoisted at the rooftops of court buildings as well as Karachi and Malir Bars.

According to Secretary General KBA Naeem Qureshi, black flags and banners have also been hoisted at various premises on main MA Jinnah Road.

President Malir Bar Association Zahoor Ahmed said that black flags had been hoisted at the entire premises of Malir Bar.

Lawyers will completely boycott court proceedings for the whole week to pay homage to Chaudhry Iftikhar who has been placed under house arrest along with his family.

During the week, the legal fraternity will hold rallies, demonstrations and seminars for the cause of independent judiciary and restoration of rule of law in the country.

Karachi Bar Association, under the leadership of its Secretary Naeem Qureshi and former President Iftikhar Qazi, had held about 70 sits-in on main MA Jinnah Road, besides lodging more than 40 protests at Chief Minister House, Karachi Press Club and Sindh High Court since March 9 last year.

In the same year on May 12, on the eve of arrival of deposed CJP Chaudhry Mohammed Iftikhar, a lawyer of Malir Bar Pervez Akhter Kiyani was killed, while 40 lawyers of City Courts were injured by law-enforcement agencies’ personnel.

About 51 lawyers, including former President KBA Iftikhar Qazi, were arrested, tortured and manhandled by the police. Naeem Qureshi was thrice arrested during this course of action and in the year 2008 he again faced stiff resistance at the hands of law-enforcers along with Mehmood-ul-Hasan.

During this period the Karachi Bar was addressed by the leaders of major political parties, including Nawaz Sharif, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, Imran Khan, Mehmood Achakzai, Raza Rabbani, Nisar Khuro, Zafar Iqbal Jhagra. All of them pressed the same demand for the restoration of judges. About 16 judges of Sindh High Court who did not take oath under PCO also attended the oath-taking ceremony of KBA, with Justice (retd) Bhagwandas in the chair.

During this period, KBA held its general body meetings without any hindrance despite the fact that its leaders were detained.

Retired judges Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed, Justice Fakhruddin G Ibrahim, Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed and Justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui were among those who addressed the KBA general body.

In the year 2008, such protests continued under the leadership of KBA President Mehmood-ul-Hasan. President Supreme Court Bar Association Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan had also addressed KBA general body meeting last week.

All these protests, demonstrations and rallies, said Naeem, strengthened the courage of legal fraternity which did not bow before “the corrupt rulers and dictators”. KBA also suspended the membership of all those lawyers who sided with the government.

During the protests, said Naeem, no government official came to console with the lawyers over the brutalities of law-enforcement agencies’ personnel. —SB

link: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=100404

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