Lawyers back on the march
KARACHI, May 22: The lawyers’ fraternity of the city on Thursday boycotted legal proceedings at the City Courts and District Courts Malir on the call of the Pakistan Bar Council against the ousting of judges and took out a procession from the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) office. The participants of the rally marched on different thoroughfares, including M.A. Jinnah Road, and arrived at the Karachi Press Club, where a demonstration was staged.
A large number of lawyers, along with the provincial leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Jamaat-i-Islami and other component parties of the All Parties Democratic Movement, political workers, representatives of non-governmental organizations and members of civil society participated in the rally. Surrounded by heavy contingents of police deployed around the City Courts, participants carried placards, banners and flags and chanted anti-Musharraf and pro-judiciary slogans.Addressing the gathering at the press club, the political leaders, including Saleem Zia, Mohammad Hussain Mehanti, Yousuf Masti Khan, Siddique Rathore and others slammed President Pervez Musharraf for promulgating the Provisional Constitution Order and ousting the judges of the superior judiciary in order to keep himself in power and warned parliament not to validate these unconstitutional actions.
They vowed to support the lawyers’ ongoing movement for the reinstatement of all deposed judges, the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.
Earlier, speaking at a joint general body meeting of the Karachi, Sindh High Court and Malir bar associations held in the office of the KBA at the City Courts, President of the Sindh High Court Bar Association Rasheed A. Razvi said the issue of reinstatement of deposed judges was not only a matter of lawyers, but it was an issue of the entire nation as the concept of an independent judiciary was essential in a civilised society. On May 16 the Pakistan Bar Council, he said, had decided to reactivate the lawyers’ movement, which was widely endorsed on the next day by all representatives of bar associations across the country and for this purpose, two lawyers’ conventions were planned for May 24 and May 31 in Faisalabad and Peshawar respectively.
He warned that if any political party wanted to give protection to the unconstitutional and illegal acts of Nov 3, it would be strongly resisted.
Sindh Bar Council member Salahuddin Gandapur alleged that the Pakistan People’s Party was negotiating with a “dictator” and said there was no provision for the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in the Constitution and hoped all those cases withdrawn under the NRO would be reopened once the judiciary was restored to its pre-PCO position.
KBA President Mahmoodul Hasan said the legal community wanted the restoration of the judiciary to its Nov 2 position and would not accept the PCO judges.
He said that legal fraternity of the province was united and committed to continuing the ongoing struggle till the restoration of all deposed judges, including Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. He urged the political parties to support and participate in the lawyers’ long march.
Malir Bar Association President Amanullah Yousufzai and KBA General-Secretary Naeem Qureshi also addressed the meeting.
Meanwhile, though 247 under-trial prisoners were brought to the City Courts lock-up from difference prisons, their cases could not be heard due to the lawyers’ boycott. All business activities, including stationery shops, cabins, stamp vendors and canteens on the City Courts premises, also remained closed as the police had cordoned off the City Courts.