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Lawyers will mull plan to block re-election: Action committee meets today

September 02, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Sept 1: The National Action Committee of lawyers will meet here on Sunday to formulate a strategy to block the re-election of President Pervez Musharraf.

The meeting will be attended by top office-bearers of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Supreme Court Bar Association, the high court bar associations and major district bar associations.

A former president of the SCBA told Dawn that the meeting would take stock of the political situation in the context of a possible deal between Gen Musharraf and Pakistan People’s Party chief Benazir Bhutto and reports about an alternative plan under which a national

Government, led by Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman, could be formed for one year. He said those options were meant to perpetuate the rule of Gen Musharraf.

He said MMA chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad had filed two petitions with the Supreme Court, but overburdening the judiciary should be avoided.

He said the re-election of Gen Musharraf could be stalled if the MMA resigned from provincial assemblies of the NWFP and Balochistan.

He underlined the need for mobilising the political parties to play their due role in obviating any extra-constitutional steps. The lawyers’ organisations could not substitute for political parties, he said.

The National Action Committee meeting will be attended, among others, by SCBA President Munir A. Malik, PBC Vice-Chairman Mirza Aziz Baig, PBC Executive Committee Chairman Qazi Mohammad Anwar, Coordination Committee Chairman Imdad Awan and other leaders of lawyers.

Meanwhile, the government seems to have succeeded in dividing the SCBA with some office-bearers accusing Mr Malik of acting in a dictatorial manner and rejecting his call for a ‘jail bharo movement’.

In statement, SCBA Vice-President Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, Additional Secretary Sardar Mohammad Ghazi and executive members Abdullah Kakar, Parvaiz Tanoli, Rizwan Ahmad Siddiqui, Syed Amanat Ali Bukhari, Haji Mohammad Rafi Saddiqi and Qamar Zaman Qureshi said: “We do not subscribe to his viewpoint as it is not for the professionals to indulge in street politics. Let the job be taken care of by the politicians.”

They lauded the campaign launched by the lawyers for restoring the chief justice but said that the objective had been achieved and now they were supposed to take care of the interests of the litigants.

They alleged that the SCBA chief had failed to live up to the expectations of the association. “We do not support the call given by him to create political chaos and imbalance in the country which is already going through a turbulent phase,” they remarked.

Earlier, a delegation of the SCBA, led by Khawaja Naveed, called on Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Talking to the delegation, the prime minister said the three pillars of the state must work in harmony in the larger national interest. He said the government respected the judiciary as a very important pillar of the state. Likewise, the supremacy of parliament needed to be respected, he said.

He said the government would continue providing facilities to ensure speedy justice for the masses by the judiciary.

He said the government believed in freedom of expression but laws and norms of civil society must be adhered to.