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ISLAMABAD, July 10: Bar associations in Islamabad and Rawalpindi divisions on Tuesday announced their decisions to observe Wednesday as a black day against amendments to the contempt of court law.

The associations will convene meetings of their general bodies and hold press conferences to announce their future strategy against the contempt of court bill.

Ahsanuddin Sheikh, president Lahore High Court (LHC) Bar Association, Rawalpindi division, told Dawn that parliament was encroaching upon the rights of the judiciary by approving the controversial contempt of court bill.

He said the bill aimed to save the new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf from meeting the fate of his predecessor Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani who was disqualified under the contempt of court ordinance 2003 for defying the order of the Supreme Court by not writing to Swiss authorities for reopening the money laundering case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

He said the contempt of court ordinance 2003 was protected under the 17th constitutional amendment and it could not be repealed through a bill passed by a simple majority, adding the existing contempt of court law could only be repealed by a two-third majority of both the houses of parliament.

Advocate Sheikh said the LHC bar’s Rawalpindi division was going to challenge the controversial bill. He said the courts can strike down any law discriminatory in nature and passed with malafide intentions.

According to him, the new contempt of court law would set different standards for the public office holders and the general public with regard to the contempt of court offence.

Syed Nayyab Hassan Gardezi, the president of Islamabad High Court Bar Association, said the lawyers’ community would not accept any law that would curtail the powers of the superior judiciary. He said the lawyers would boycott court proceedings and hoist black flags on the bar rooms to protest the contempt of court bill and express solidarity with the judiciary.

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