Cancellation of holiday on Iqbal Day: Lawyers, civil society condemn govt’s decision

Legal fraternity threaten to boycott court proceedings in protest

Our Correspondent November 08, 2016
Pieces of paper were hung from tree branches which contained portions of Iqbal’s writings. PHOTO: EXPRESS

MULTAN: While reacting against the government’s decision to cancel the public holiday on Iqbal Day, lawyers and civil society activists in various cities of south Punjab staged a protest demonstration on Wednesday.

Lawyers hailing from Vehari, Pakpattan, Khanewal, Layyah, Rajanpur, Bahawalnagar and Muzaffargarh demanded a public holiday on Allama Iqbal’s birth anniversary. They threatened to observe a strike against the decision if their demand was not met.

Boycott of courts

On the call of Punjab Bar Council, lawyers announced complete boycott of court proceedings. Lawyers said last year, the government had issued a notification of public holiday on November 9, but later withdrew its decision and announced that all government offices, schools, colleges and universities would remain open on Iqbal Day.

Multan District Bar senior member Malik Khan Langha announced that lawyers will start token strike after 11am on Wednesday and will not attend courts. However, lawyers had organised a ceremony to pay homage to National Poet Allama Iqbal earlier in the day.

Another District Bar Multan member Khalid Ashraf Khan said, “Iqbal Day is not like other days. We must celebrate it with great enthusiasm and reverence.” He added, “Allama Iqbal was an institution in himself. We will deprive our coming generations from the great lessons of our national poet.”

Similarly, Advocate Shahbaz Gurmani said, “Iqbal is a public hero and deserve special adoration on the day.”

Meanwhile, Muzaffargarh Bar had also announced to observe complete strike and boycott of court proceedings.

Civil society activist Faheem Akhtar said instead of working in offices and studying in schools, we should organise meetings and symposium in cities to pay tribute to our national poet. He said students should be encouraged to read his poems and quotations in functions on the day.

He maintained, “Federal and provincial ministers fulfill their duty by broadcasting few messages on television on Iqbal Day but Iqbal deserves more than this.” He condemned the government’s decision and demanded that holiday should be announced on Iqbal Day.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2016.


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