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Lawyers have decided to make public all the ‘genuine facts’ regarding President General Pervez Musharraf’s act of summoning Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chuadhry, his confinement and threats by army officials at Rawalpindi Camp Office on March 9.

“There will be important phase of lawyers’ movement on April 24 as we will disclose all the facts and names of persons who detained and threatened the Chief Justice at the Camp Office,” said Ahmed Ali Kurd, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council while addressing at the Sindh Lawyers Convention, on Sunday.

“It is the right of people to know what actually happened with the Chief Justice during his five hours confinement at the Camp Office,” he said adding that lawyers will bring all the genuine facts into public.

The Sindh Lawyers Convention was attended by former judges of superior courts including former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, former Supreme Court judges Fakharuddin G Ibrahim, Nasir Aslam Zahid, former High Court judges including Zahid Qurban Alvi, Mohammad Roshan Essani, Mohammad Mujeebullah Siddiqui and representatives of district bar associations in Sindh.
Bitterly criticising Musharraf’s act, Kurd said that lawyers will continue their struggle until the Constitution is restored and role of the army is completely restricted in country’s politics. He also informed the participants that legal fraternity would decide the visit of Justice Chaudhry to Karachi on its April 23 meeting.

The President Supreme Court Bar Association, Munir A Malik said that lawyers were committed in their struggle for the independence of judiciary but now time has come for the judiciary to become ‘A’ team of people instead of performing as the ‘B’ team of the Army and remove their past perceptions among the masses. Malik informed the participants that constitutional issues regarding suspension of the Chief Justice, appointment of Acting Chief Justice, composition of SJC and other related matters have been challenged before the Supreme Court.

Announcing strike on April 24, he said the lawyers would only appear before the court in matters related to CJP issue. He said that lawyers have decided that they will continue their struggle through protest and in courts by strongly defending the case of the Chief Justice. About the reference before the Supreme Judicial Council, he made it clear that it was demand of the defence team that objection raised regarding bias of three members of the council shall be decided first.

He also raised serious questions regarding the appointment of Acting Chief Justice Javed Iqbal soon after the Presidential Reference and removal of the SC’s registrar and filing of

Presidential reference before the SJC on the very day by the Acting CJ.

He said that March 9 would be remembered as the ‘black day’ in the history as army chief attacked the institution of judiciary by summoning the Chief Justice at his Camp Office.

The day will also be remembered as on this day the Chief Justice refused to bow to the army chief.

“Rule of law means civilian supremacy, he said adding that it has to be decided that whether military junta rule the country or the civilians. He admitted that judiciary was also part of Musharraf-led government which was ruling the country along with bureaucracy and stock brokers.

With regard to participation of political parties in lawyers’ movement, Malik said the Bar approach was different from the political approach and it will not be allowed that ideology of any party be highlighted from the platform of legal fraternity. “There could not be two opinions over the Chief Justice issue,” he said adding that all political parties should cooperate with the lawyers from their own platforms. “Political parties could compromise at their issues but the Bar will not do so,” he cleared.

Former judge of the Supreme Court Justice (retd) Fakhuruddin G Ibrahim demanded of the government to hold free and fair elections through independent election commission and restore the Constitution, as it existed prior October 12, 1999.

“In last March, we did not know that where we are and where we are going but this March we know where we are and where we are going,” he pointed out.

He was of the view that circumstances have been changing rapidly and the legal fraternity has unanimously resolved that they will not allow military to introduce any PCO in future.

Former Chief Justice of Sindh High Court Nasir Aslam Zahid demanded immediate withdrawal of the reference against the Chief Justice.

He said the SJC could not decide the constitutional issue as it was only fact finding inquiry tribunal. He also criticised the federal law minister Wasi Zafar for making baseless statement against the Chief Justice. Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui observed that as a nation we failed to protect the democratic values. “Rule of law is hallmark for the society,” he added.

SBC member Mohammad Ali Abbasi criticised Law Minister Wasi Zafar and alleged that he is involved in distributing Rs50 million among his relatives from Auqaf Funds.

Former Judge of Sindh High Court Zahid Qurban Alvi, Sindh High Court Bar Association President Abrar Hasan, ex-SHCBA President Abdul Hafeez Lakho Vice Chairman Sindh Bar Council Mohammad Amin Lakhani, ex-Vice Chairman Noor Naz Agha, President Karachi Bar Association Iftikhar Javed Qazi and office bearers of several district bar associations also spoke on the occasion. It was also announced that lawyer general convention will be held on May 6 in Hyderabad.

23-04-2007 23:21
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