Hamid Khan-led group to oppose call for law minister’s resignation

Published: June 12, 2019
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Professional Lawyers Group led by Hamid Khan has resolved that the presidential reference filed against Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa is based on malafide basis however the group has vowed to oppose any demand regarding the resignation of Law Minister Dr Farogh Nasim and Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan.

The decision was made in a meeting of the professional lawyer’s group who are part of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) here on Tuesday to devise a strategy following the presidential reference against the SC judge before the session of the PBC to be held on Wednesday (today).

One of the participants told The Express Tribune the group members believed the reference has been filed on malafide basis, therefore, it should be quashed by Supreme Judicial Council.

However, he informed that the group will oppose any demand regarding the resignation of the law minister and the AGP— who are both associated with the same group.

Interestingly, the Independent Lawyers Group, also known as the Asma Jahangir Group, has already thrown its weight behind Justice Isa and called for the resignation of both Naseem and Khan.

It is also learned the Professional Group is unwilling to support Supreme Court Bar Association President Amanullah Kanrani’s statement regarding the lockdown of courtrooms on June 14, he adds.

Another member revealed that few group members, who are closed to the law minister, believe there is no need to stage protest and boycott court proceedings at this stage. However, a final decision will be taken during the PBC meeting, which will be attended by both groups.

Meanwhile, the professional lawyer’s group, also known as the Hamid Khan Group, exists in superior bars across the country. The same group played a key role against General Musharraf’s Legal Framework Order (LFO) 2002 as well as the lawyers’ movement in 2007 when the former president suspended the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

With the legal fraternity, including superior bars, announcing a boycott of court proceedings on June 14 to protest against the reference and show solidarity with Justice Isa, the role of the Professional Lawyers Group will be significant.

The group also includes law minister Naseem and AGP Khan, who initiated the reference against Justice Isa. Furthermore, the group’s chief Hamid Khan is also a senior member of the ruling political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

In Karachi, lawyers have come out in support of the SC judge while the opinion remains divided in Lahore.

Moreover, the PTI-led government has also started lobbying for support of lawyers with its leader and senior lawyer Babar Awan active in this regard.

The legal wings of the major political parties – the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Awami National Party and the Jamaat e Islami and others – are also expected to participate in protests in favor of Justice Isa causing another problem for the incumbent government.

The basic aim of the lawyers’ protest is to ensure that the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council are not influenced.  Likewise, retired judges have also been active in garnering support for Justice Isa.

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