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LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja says more than 25 bar associations have announced that they are not part of any movement over the issue of references against two superior court judges.

Speaking at an event of the Punjab Assembly’s Press Gallery Committee here on Wednesday, the minister claimed that more than 25 bar associations from across the country had come up with their resolutions that they won’t be part of any movement being launched on the call of Supreme Court Bar Association chief Amanullah Kanrani.

The SCBA has given a call for lawyers’ nationwide strike on June 14 (tomorrow) when the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) will hear the presidential reference against Supreme Court judge Justice Faez Isa and Sindh High Court’s Justice K.K. Agha.

He said the chief justice of Pakistan had also made it clear that the references against the judges were to be adjudicated by the Judicial Council and not the government.

“Patriotic lawyers too have resolved that they won’t allow a constitutional and legal issue to be politicised,” he said.

The minister said the poor public response to the arrest of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz showed that people supported Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first stance on eradication of the corrupt and plunderers from the country.

He said it’s a fact that the prime minister had smashed the ‘racket’ of the corrupt politicians after a long struggle.

About the 13th session of the Punjab Assembly commencing on Thursday (today), the minister said it would be basically the annual budget session and the budget for the financial year 2019-20 would be presented on June 14. He said it would be a people-friendly budget.

He criticised the PML-N which ruled Punjab for 10 consecutive years from 2008 to 2018 by saying the former Pervaiz government had left power corridors with Rs100 billion surplus in the provincial kitty in 2008 but Shahbaz government left the province with a heavy debt of Rs2,600bn. He said inflation was the result of foreign loans taken by the previous two governments.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2019