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Lawyers’ ‘long march’ on June 10

May 18, 2008

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LAHORE, May 17: Lawyers on Saturday vowed to set off on a ‘long march’ to Islamabad or Rawalpindi on June 10 for pressuring the government for reinstating the deposed judges.

The decision was taken at an All Pakistan Lawyers’ Representative Convention.

“A committee will decide whether the march should kick off from Karachi, Lahore or Multan. But the date has been finalised,” said Pakistan Bar Council vice-chairman Said Rehman at the offices of the Lahore High Court Bar Association.

Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan said the march would either end either in Islamabad or Rawalpindi. “You do understand what I mean when I say Rawalpindi,” Mr Ahsan said in a veiled reference to the Army House, where President Pervez Musharraf presently lives.

Deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry would attend lawyers’ conventions in Faisalabad on May 24, Peshawar on May 31 and Lahore on June 9, said the PBC vice-chairman.

He said lawyers would also ask students, traders and political parties to join the march, adding the PBC had retained the call for the boycott of courts and the lawyers would keep taking out rallies every Thursday.

Lawyers would now observe a one-hour strike daily and set up camps.

Criticising the ruling coalition for not keeping its promises, he said it had neither kept its pledge for restoration of judiciary in the Bhurban Decalaration nor its vows for reinstating judges in 30 days after the formation of the government. “They had till May 12 but did not reinstate the judges. This has frustrated not just the lawyers but also the people of Pakistan.”

The SCBA president, Aitzaz Ahsan, said although the convention had reposed its confidence in him, he would still take a couple of days to decide on contesting the by-poll. He added if the deposed judges were restored before June 10, lawyers would celebrate the occasion.

Journalists were not allowed to cover the convention. Some 150 representatives of Pakistan Bar Council, Supreme Court Bar Association, provincial bar councils, high court and district bars from across the country attended the convention.