SUKKUR: Lawyers across Sindh stayed away from work on Tuesday to protest against the new system of local governance deemed controversial by many.
On Monday, the provincial legislature had passed the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance, which according to the legal fraternity was promulgated and approved in a hurry to appease a major coalition partner of the ruling party.
Responding to the strike called by the Sindh Bar Council, the lawyers boycotted courts and staged rallies throughout the province, vowing to support the people of Sindh and the nationalist parties in their movement against the “black ordinance”.
In Sukkur, a protest was held in the premises of the district and sessions court, where the lawyers shouted slogans against the controversial ordinance and the PPP-led government.
The president of District Bar Association Sukkur, Hadi Bux Bhatt, said the Sindh assembly has lost its sanctity by passing the local government ordinance. “The PPP leaders claim to be champions of democracy, but their actions speak otherwise,” he said.
While the opposition members protested in the assembly hall and the entire province was shut against the controversial law, the PPP government ignoring everything passed the bill. “This has proved that the Sindh government has been taken hostage by people, who are manipulating it according to their whims and wishes,” Bhatt added.
In Khairpur, hundreds of lawyers took to the streets in the shape of a rally from the district courts. They shouted slogans against the government while marching toward the Punj Gulla Chowk, where they staged a sit-in.
The general secretary of District Bar Association Khairpur, Yasir Arafat, slammed the government for violating the sanctity of the Sindh Assembly by passing the controversial bill. “The parliamentarians were not [even] allowed to speak [on the bill],” he said.
Later, some members of the district bar association suggested suspending the membership of Syed Bachal Shah, an MPA of the PPP, and banning his entry in the district bar.
The district bars of Dadu and Larkana have also decided to suspend the memberships of education minister Pir Mazharul Haq and law minister Ayaz Soomro.
The district bar presidents do not have the right to suspend the members or ban their entry, said Bachal Shah while talking to The Express Tribune. “I am a senior advocate and only the Sindh Bar council has the right to suspend my membership,” he added.
Meanwhile, more than one dozen members of the PPP-backed Peoples Lawyers Forum have resigned.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.