Representatives of various bar associations criticised the selection of Raja Pervez Ashraf as prime minister and expressed solidarity with the chief justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday.
In speeches at the All Pakistan Lawyers’ Convention here at the Alhamra, lawyers said they would push for the implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgements and would foil the “conspiracy to tarnish the reputation of the chief justice”. They said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry represented an institution that they were willing to die to protect. They said that they had backed him in the past and would continue to stand with him.
Hamid Khan, a member of the Pakistan Bar Council, said that the government should write a letter to the Swiss government to make Pakistan a civil party in a corruption case against President Asif Zardari. He said that lawyers did not accept the new prime minister, as he should be standing in the dock answering questions about his role in the rental power projects scandal. He also demanded the suspension of Attorney General Irfan Qadir.
Referring to the ‘Memogate’, Khan said that Hussain Haqqani was an agent of President Zardari and the United States. He said those who wrote the memo should be punished. He said that if those who are corrupt were exposed to the nation, they would no longer be able to “occupy” the country. He said that conspiracies against the Supreme Court would be foiled and the conspirators whether they be lawyers, politicians or journalists should be brought to justice.
Mehmood Ashraf, the president of the High Court Bar Association, Multan, said that the corrupt government did not want to see an independent judiciary. He said that former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had made a mockery of his conviction by the Supreme Court by stating that he could only be removed by parliament. He said that the lawyers had stood up to a dictator and would stand up to this government if it did not implement the Supreme Court’s verdicts.
Qazi Abdussattar, a member of the Sindh Bar Council, said that the president could not play any kind of ‘Sindh card’ as the Sindhis did not like him. They loved Benazir Bhutto, not Zardari, he said. The government had done nothing for the masses, he said.
Imrana Baloch, the vice president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said that politicians were pursuing their own interests in the garb of democracy. She said that those who were the most corrupt were also the ones nearest the top. She said that the lawyers supported the judiciary.
Lahore Bar Association President Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, reading out a resolution, said that all bar associations would observe a ‘black day’ on June 27 over the selection of Ashraf as prime minister.
The lawyers chanted slogans such as “Go Zardari, Go,” “Raja Rental,” and “Chief teray jannisar, bayshomar bayshomar”.
Sindh High Court Bar Association President Mehmoodul Hassan, Sindh Bar Council member Noor Naz Agha, Lahore High Court Bar Association Vice President Hafeezur Rehman, Muzaffargarh Bar Association President Syed Mansoob Bukhari, Attock District Bar Association President Azmat Bukhari, Dadu Bar Association President Muhammad Anwar, Sargodha Bar Association President Shams Naveed Cheema, and representatives from Sanghar, Mianwali, Mandi Bahauddin, Jampur, Rawalpindi, Narowal and Pakpattan also addressed the convention. The LHCBA president did not attend, nor anyone from bar associations in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2012.