Lawyers give countrywide strike call for Monday
ISLAMABAD, Sept 29: The National Action Committee of lawyers has given a countrywide strike call for Monday to protest police action against lawyers, journalists and members of civil society outside the Election Commission.
Supreme Court Bar Association president Munir A Malik told Dawn that the decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the committee.
He said that lawyers would boycott courts all over the country and hold protest rallies to register their protest against the authorities’ brutality against lawyers and journalists in Islamabad and other parts of the country.
He said the decision would not affect the filing of petitions in the Supreme Court against the Election Commission decision to accept nomination papers of President Pervez Musharraf. He said the petitions would be filed on Monday. A petition against the EC decision by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, the lawyers’ candidate for the presidential election, would be filed in the apex court. Senior lawyer Hamid Khan will be his counsel.
Meanwhile, the Saturday’s police action was widely condemned by human rights, lawyer and media organisations.
Advocate Ali Ahmed Kurd, former vice-president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, on his release from police custody said that lawyers’ movement could not be suppressed by force.
“Lawyers are not cowards. We had announced that we would reach the Election Commission and we did,” he said.
He criticised the Islamabad administration and alleged that lawyers’ peaceful demonstration was stopped by force. “Today’s police brutality has intensified the situation. We will no more remain peaceful,” he said.
“Momentum is building up. When the chief justice was ousted he was alone, but later it became a movement. I foresee a similar momentum building against Gen Musharraf which will oust him,” he added.
Asma Jehangir of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the action had proved that the government was no more ready to tolerate civil society in Pakistan. She said the way lawyers, journalists and civil society members were tortured and arrested showed designs of the regime for the next five years.