LAHORE, April 19: Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan on Saturday said he had decided to contest the by-election.

He said he had requested the PPP leadership to allow him to contest for a National Assembly seat, which was essentially a PML-N’s domain under an agreement reached between the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

“I am grateful to Mian Nawaz Sharif for agreeing not to field a candidate against me. We are also grateful to him for his clear stand on the issue of the reinstatement of the deposed judiciary,” he added.

Mr Ahsan said he had decided to contest the by-election while retaining the top SCBA slot after consulting the lawyers’ leadership.

Mr Ahsan was addressing a news conference at the Lahore Press Club after reversing his decision to resign as the SCBA chief.

He said that lawyers would have no objection to any constitutional package parliament might announce after reinstating the deposed judges. However, he hastened to add: “In principal, we do not have any objection but we will see.”

The SCBA chief said that lawyers would be frontline guards against any attempt by the presidency to dissolve parliament. “If 58(2)-b is used at all, the lawyers will launch a movement with the intensity witnessed during the drive for the reinstatement of judges,” he said.

He said the Constitution was undisputedly supreme “but the parliament was sometimes called supreme because of its power to amend it (the Constitution) under Article 238”.

Asked to shed light on “apprehensions” over what Justice (retired) Wajihuddin had said were the reasons for a meeting between PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, he said the meeting took place in front of a number of people and it was arranged because the deposed chief justice wanted to condole the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

“Many people are spreading disinformation because they want to harm the lawyers’ movement for the reinstatement of deposed judges.” He dispelled the impression that the judges would be reinstated in phases.

Mr Ahsan said he was against the condition that a person should possess a bachelor’s degree in order to contest elections.

In reply a question, he said there was no need to doubt the parliament’s intention which was giving final touches to the resolution through which the deposed judges would be reinstated in accordance with the Bhurban accord and the lawyers’ demand.

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