=> ISLAMABAD: Lawyers across the country have divided -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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=> ISLAMABAD: Lawyers across the country have divided

ISLAMABAD: Lawyers across the country have divided on the decision of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), limiting the superior courts’ boycott to one hour a day and complete on Thursdays keeping in view the hardships being faced by the litigants.

A majority of lawyers have rejected the PBC decision amid suggestions and demands that the complete boycott of the superior courts should continue till the restoration of all judges of the superior courts, who either refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) or were not invited to take oath under the PCO.

Resentment expressed: Besides different bar associations of the country, the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), Rawalpindi Bench, and Rawalpindi and Islamabad District Bar Associations have also expressed their resentment at the PBC decision.

LHCBA President Sardar Asmatullah told Daily Times that lawyers had asked the council to review its decision within the next three days. The PBC Vice Chairman Mirza Aziz Akbar Baig said the decision was taken after the consent of all PBC members, and, barring NWFP lawyers, it was acceptable to all. He said the decision was taken in view of the sufferings of litigants and lawyers; however, it would be reviewed within next few days.

In a general body meeting of the Rawalpindi District Bar Association (RDBA), lawyers said they wanted to continue the boycott of superior courts despite financial constraints. Appearing before these courts amounted to giving legality to the November 3 unconstitutional acts of the regime, they added. Likewise, a majority of the members of the Islamabad District Bar Association (IDBA), mostly young lawyers, have rejected the PBC decision. “No doubt, we are facing financial constraints because of the boycott but we are ready to sacrifice everything for the rule of law,” they said.

PBC’s jurisdiction: Answering a question about the authority of the PBC for taking any ‘political decision’, a senior lawyer said the council was not a representative body but a regulatory one, adding that the lawyers were represented by the bar associations and they were not willing to give up their movement. However, the RDBA general secretary, Sajid Tanoli, said, “Lawyers are bound to follow the PBC decision though they have reservations about it.” He asked the council to review its decision on ending the boycott.

Criticising the PBC decision, he urged the council to review its move within two to three days and resume the complete boycott of the “PCO judges”. The RDBA president, Sardar Tariq Masood Khan, demanded that the lawyers’ convention convened on February 9 should be arranged within one week at the Supreme Court Bar Association office to take a final decision on the boycott. He said all important decisions during the post-March 9 movement of the lawyers were taken by the National Action Committee, a representative forum of the lawyers, and the same should decide on this issue. A January 14 PBC resolution had said that the climb-down had been made in the interest of litigants, who were facing problems since the lawyers complete boycott of courts on November 3.
Source: Daily Times
Date:1/19/2008