QUETTA, July 26: Lawyers at a convention here on Saturday stressed upon the opposition leadership that any compromise on the Legal Framework Order or the president’s military post in the meeting with the government on Sunday would divide the forces opposing the LFO and benefit the military dictator.

Representatives of the bar associations and councils of the Supreme Court and high courts from Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh and the NWFP and the members of local lawyers’ organizations spoke about the LFO and provincial autonomy.

Pakistan Bar Council Vice-Chairman Mian Abbass presided over the fifth all Pakistan lawyers convention and Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Hamid Khan was the chief guest.

The convention, through a resolution passed unanimously, called for a boycott of the courts on July 30 to protest against the killing of three judges in the Sialkot jail and condemned the authorities’ failure to stop the supply of firearms into the prison.

It opposed the dispatch of Pakistani troops to Iraq and said the occupation forces should face the crisis instead of using Pakistani troops as their mercenary division.

It demanded that the provinces should be given autonomy as prescribed in the Constitution.

It deplored the promulgation of the Contempt of Courts Ordinance and considered it an attempt to muzzle the campaign of the legal fraternity to expose the misdeeds of the superior judiciary and its collusion with the military establishment.

Mian Abbass said the lawyers’ joint action committee had decided to hold a long march to accelerate the movement against the LFO and the military dictatorship.

He said the date and route of the march would be finalized in a meeting in Islamabad on Aug 8.

He said the next convention would be held in Lahore on Sept 5 to show that the lawyers would not make any deal on principles about the LFO, the president’s discretionary powers under Article 58(2-b) of the Constitution and his military post.

He alleged that the “nexus of generals and judges to undermine the sovereignty of parliament and suppress the independence of judiciary” was aimed at undermining the fundamental rights of the citizens and imposing an unconstitutional rule in the country.

The SCBA president alleged that the understanding between the “khaki uniform and the black gown” was an attempt to safeguard each other’s interests and sideline the elected representatives. He said the judges had legalized President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s rule for three years and the army ruler had given an extension in the retirement age of the judges of the same period.

He criticized the role of some judges who had legitimized the illegal steps of the military dictator.

Hamid Khan said the implementation of Article 6 of the Constitution was necessary.

He said the Pakistan Bar Council had published a white paper and another such document might be prepared.

He said he had conveyed the message to the politicians invited by the prime minister for dialogue that a compromise on the LFO, the National Security Council, extension in the judges’ service, the president’s uniform and the contempt of court ordinance would divide the lawyers and political leaders.

Amanullah Kanrani, Mohsin Javed, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Malik Zahoor Shahwani said the lawyers of Balochistan would continue their role for constitutional rule, democracy and provincial autonomy.

Bar Council Azad Kashmir Vice-Chairman Raja Sajid Ahmed assured the participants of cooperation in the struggle for the restoration of the Constitution. Lahore High Court Bar Association President Hafiz Abdur Rehman Ansari said the suppression of constitutional procedures could lead to disunity and damage the integrity of the country.

Qazi Anwar and Sardar Sanaullah Gandapur from the NWFP said the denial of the provinces’ right over their resources would undermine the federal parliamentary system and lead the country to crisis.

Munir Ahmed, Yasin Azad, Aqil Lakani, Nahid Afzal and Mohammad Ali Abbasi from Sindh and Kazim Khan, Sheikh Jamshed and Malik Saleem from Punjab also spoke.

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