LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), an important ally of the PTI coalition government, has taken on board its lawyers wing and the like-minded asking them to stay ‘non-partisan’ in the opposition-backed lawyers’ drive regarding references against two superior court judges in the Supreme Judicial Court.
“We have taken lawyers on board and everyone agreed that since the Supreme Court judges will be deciding on the references we should leave it to them. It is the matter for them to decide and we should not voice opinion on that,” a senior lawyer belonging to the PML-Q’s lawyers wing told Dawn after its meeting with party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and MNA Moonis Elahi here on Saturday.
The senior lawyer further said the PML-Q lawyers wing and the like-minded would stay away from any such drive.
“We will rather persuade the protesting lawyers to dissociate themselves from this politically motivated move by the PML-N-led opposition which has its own agenda to achieve through them,” he said.
A good number of lawyers of the Supreme Court, high court and district courts including Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, Alamgir advocate, Jahangir A. Jhojha, Nadir Manzoor Duggal, Amir Saeed Rawn, Shahid Hussain Ghallo, Chaudhry Dildar Brolla, Chaudhry Akram, Kamran Younus Butt and Imran Gondal attended the meeting. Former Senator Kamil Ali Agha was also present.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Amanullah Kanrani has already announced observing a black day on June 14, the day the SJC is scheduled to take up references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice Karim Khan Agha of the Sindh High Court. Mr Kanrani asked the presidents and members of all bar councils and high court and district bar associations, including the Islamabad Bar Association, to gather at the Supreme Court building when the SJC would take up the references.
On the other hand, the PML-N had reportedly evolved a strategy to first take on the Imran Khan government on the issue of the judges through its lawyers’ wing that would collaborate with its community and might take to the streets to press the government to withdraw the references (against both judges).
PML-N’s senior vice president and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had told Dawn that filing of references against two senior judges was an “attack” by the PTI government on the judiciary and it (PML-N) would strongly resist to it. “However, we will not do politics on it as it is a very delicate matter and the legal fraternity is taking a due course to counter the government’s move.”
It is learnt that the opposition parties will continue building up pressure on the government in the parliament and other forums in this regard and after seeing the momentum of the ‘lawyers’ drive’ [likely to be kicked off next week] it will decide whether to jump on the bandwagon or not.
Meanwhile, the PTI government has yet to mobilise its lawyers wing to form a strategy in the face of the opposition-led lawyers drive.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2019