LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party with its majority in the Lahore High Court Bar Association can play a decisive role in making the lawyers’ planned movement against the prime minister successful.
The bar association has demanded Nawaz Sharif’s resignation prior to his appearance before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Panama Papers scandal.
On Saturday, the LHCBA representatives had demanded that the prime minister step down within seven days or they would initiate countrywide protests ‘larger than the one launched in 2007 for the restoration of Supreme Court judges’. Three out of four elected representatives of the LHCBA are affiliated with opposition parties and will toe the line of their respective parties.
LHCBA President Chaudhry Zulfiqar is an active member of Jamaat-e-Islami, Vice-President Rashid Lodhi has an open association with the PPP while the LHCBA Secretary Amir Saeed Rawn’s affiliation with PML-Q is also an open secret.
LHCBA Finance Secretary Zaheer Butt is considered a candidate who won his slot with the support of PML-N lawyers headed by Minister Rana Mashhood and his brother Advocate Rana Asadullah Khan.
Pundits are of the view the candidates from the opposition parties would go against the prime minister to the extent their parties want them to go. It is also expected they would change the pace and direction of their movement in accordance with the aspirations of their leaderships.
The lawyers’ movement of 2007 was carried out unanimously by all lawyers groups till the arrival of Benazir Bhutto from her self-exile. After her return, the PPP lawyers changed their loyalties with the movement in accordance with her stance about the movement and openly kept themselves away from controversy.
The Lahore Bar Association president, Chaudhry Tanveer, is also from the group headed by Hamid Khan, who is a PTI leader. Of course, he would proactively join the movement announced by the LHCBA and would stick to it till its logical end.
The LBA is the bar which decides the fate of any lawyers’ movement launched in Lahore for having the largest number of its young and charged members. However, the final decision on behalf of the country’s lawyers is expected in coming two days from the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Pakistan Bar Council – the two supreme bodies of the country’s lawyers. PBC Vice-Chairman Ahsan Bhoon and SCBA President Rasheed A Rizvi have termed the LHCBA announcement ‘premature’.
Hopefully, the SCBA or the PBC would schedule convention of the lawyers’ representatives in the coming week to announce any unanimous decision on the matter.
Bhoon and Rizvi are old members of the PPP and their groups have majority in PBC and even in Punjab Bar Council. If they announce any decision of movement against the PM, there will be no doubt about its success.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2017.
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