Supreme Court, Lahore High Court bars reject Pakistan Bar Council’s decision

Supreme Court, Lahore High Court bars reject
Pakistan Bar Council’s decision

LAHORE: Differences between lawyers’ top bodies escalated on Saturday when Supreme Court Bar Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association unanimously turned down Pakistan Bar Council’s decision of not demanding resignation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the wake of Supreme Court’s verdict in Panama Leaks case. Both the bars said they were united and stuck to their earlier demand and would hold “All Pakistan Lawyers’ Convention” on May 20 in Lahore.

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the top regulatory body of the lawyers, on Friday held a representative convention in Islamabad and rejected the demand of some lawyers’ bodies to force the prime minister to step down after Supreme Court’s judgment in Panama Leaks case.

The participants of the convention had resolved that such demand might derail democratic process in the country and influence working of joint investigation ream (JIT) constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate Nawaz Sharif and his family for their alleged involvement in corruption.

PCB vice-chairman Ahsan Bhoon also offered to resign after majority voted to wait till the outcome of the JIT proceedings. Bhoon was of the view that the prime minister had lost moral authority to remain in office and should face the investigation after tendering resignation.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) officer bearers jointly rejected the PBC’s decision, saying it was not ‘a representative convention’ and had been held at the behest of the government. They also alleged that some lawyers had taken U-turn from their earlier stand of demanding the premier’s resignation and launching a movement against him just for the sake of perks and privileges from the government.

SCBA secretary Aftab Bajwa said the PBC had no powers to hold any such convention. “We don’t accept any resolution passed by the PBC convention,” said Bajwa adding, “The PBC vice-chairman announced to resign but why, so far, he did not tender his resignation?”

LHCBA president Zulfiqar Chaudhry appreciated the apex court’s decision, saying the lawyers were united over the prime minister’s resignation.

He said the PBC convention lacked representation of lawyers from across the country. No one took part in the convention to represent Baluchistan and even eight out of 10 PBC members also demanded resignation.

“Almost 70 per cent lawyers demand the prime minister’s resignation but the declaration issued by PBC has ruined lawyers’ cause,” said Chaudhary.

LHCBA Secretary Amir Saeed Raan said the Islamabad convention was a move to divide the lawyers. “We reject PBC’s declaration,” said Raan.

LHCBA vice-president Rashid Lodhi said the convention would be held on May 20, warning that they would give strong reaction if anyone tried to attack their event.

The representatives of lawyers said they had the right to run a movement if the prime minister failed to give resignation till May 20.

It may be mentioned here that the LHCBA was the first bar in the country which demanded the prime minister’s resignation on April 20, saying he had lost justification to remain in power. The bar also announced launching a movement against him he did not tender resignation.

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