The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is considering filing a lawsuit against Federal Law Minister Babar Awan for distributing funds among lawyers for personal gains.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, SCBA General Secretary Raja Zulqarnain, said that they were suspicious of the funds being distributed to bar associations because they have received details pointing to nepotism. “It is the right of bars to be given grants-in-aid according to the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act of 1973. But Awan, instead of giving these funds to bar representatives, is distributing funds to his ‘blue-eyed boys’ and lawyers who are affiliated to his party,” he said.
Criticising Awan, Zulqarnain said that no previous law minister had used public money to fulfill personal agendas in such a manner. “He is trying to divide the legal fraternity by giving these funds but he will not succeed in his motives. Lawyers are torch-bearers of the rule of law and will not compromise on national benefits,” he said, adding that lawyers’ loyalty could not be bought.
Zulqarnain said that the federal government itself had come into power as a result of the National Reconciliation Ordinance and was a security risk for the country which is why the lawyers were continuing their movement against it. The government, he said, was trying to hatch a conspiracy against the judiciary through the law minister but lawyers would thwart all such conspiracies.
SCBA Vice President Mian Waheed said that Awan was not using the same parameters to distribute funds among bars. “If he wants to win sympathies of the lawyers, he should use money from his own pocket,” he said.
Meanwhile, Awan has responded to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif’s allegations that the government was trying to ‘bribe’ lawyers. “The Punjab government gave Rs92.1 million to lawyers and bar associations during the long march last year. Sharif should confirm this with his younger brother before pointing fingers at me,” he said.
Awan claimed that the PML-N was politically victimising people, which is why President Zardari’s father was being implicated in false cases.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2010.