=> PESHAWAR, Jan 14: With most of the lawyers here cr -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> PESHAWAR, Jan 14: With most of the lawyers here cr

PESHAWAR, Jan 14: With most of the lawyers here criticising the decision of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) to relax the boycott of the superior courts, the NWFP Bar Council has convened a crucial meeting of all the bar associations in the province on Tuesday to decide the future course of action.

“Our vice chairman had already announced on Sunday that contrary to the decision of PBC the lawyers in NWFP will continue boycott of the superior courts. However, we want that this decision should be endorsed by the entire bar associations and elected members of the provincial bar council,” a member of NWFP Bar Council, Kifayatullah Khan, told journalists on Monday.

The lawyers observed complete boycott of all the courts and would continue the same on Tuesday. The future boycott will be subject to the decision taken in the Tuesday’s meeting.

Pakistan Bar Council Executive Committee Chairman Qazi Muhammad Anwer told journalists here that the PBC in its meeting here on Sunday had only given relaxation to lawyers to the extent that they could appear before the courts except on Thursday and the provincial bar councils were free to decide about the continuation of boycott.

He said that a national convention of lawyers would be held on Feb 9 in Islamabad and if by then the detained judges and lawyers were not released the participants would march towards the Judges Colony.

“According to the PBC decision the lawyers will hold daily demonstrations and observe complete strike on Thursday and an hour strike on rest of the days,” Mr Anwer added. He dispelled the impression that the PBC had called off the boycott stating that they had been trying to make the movement more effective by organising large processions on every Thursday.

Peshawar High Court Bar Association President Abdul Lateef Afridi told mediapersons that the meeting on Tuesday would be attended by office bearers of 40 bar associations from across the province and 33 members of the NWFP Bar Council.

“The lawyers here have reservations over the decision of the PBC and they want to continue the boycott of the superior courts packed by the PCO judges,” he said.

Mr Afridi added that the PBC should not have taken such decision especially when the government was on the offensive as Justice Rana Baghwandas was put under house arrest and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had been issued fresh notice to vacate official residence.

Barrister Muddasir, a member of the Provincial Lawyers Action Committee, said that the National Lawyers Action Committee (NLAC) was a larger forum as compared to PBC and it was specially constituted for running the movement launched after March 9 when Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was suspended.

He said: “Only the NLAC is empowered to make final decision whether to continue the strike or to relax it. The PBC at the most could only put forward its recommendations.” He added that in the NLAC representation had been given to all the elected bar councils and major bar associations.

Throughout the day the protesting lawyers continued discussing the decision of PBC. A cage was placed on the main stairs of the high court symbolising the detention of deposed judges and leaders of the lawyers including Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmad Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood. The premise of the court was also decorated with huge portraits of the deposed judges.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/15/2008