LAHORE: The lawyers, civil society members, human rights activists and politicians on Thursday held a joint protest rally from Aiwan-e-Adl to the Punjab Assembly building, demanding the restoration of the deposed judges and release of the detained lawyers from the government.
The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) held their general house meetings at their respective buildings and took out rallies. They shouted slogans against the government and in favour of the deposed judges and detained leaders – Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Munir A Malik, Tariq Mehmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd.
Mrs Aitzaz Ahsan and activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Tehreek-e-Khaksaar (TK), Women Action Forum (WAF) and Pakistan Medic Association (PMA) also joined the lawyers’ rally. The PTI, JI and TK supporters were holding their party flags, while others were holding placards and banners inscribed with their demands for the restoration of deposed judges. One of the posters read: Aye Sitam Gar Tum Nay Socha Hay Kabhi, Tujh Say Sari Khudai Tang Hay Kiyon? (Oh oppressor! Have you ever thought why everyone is annoyed with you?)
Punjab PTI president Ahsen Rasheed led his party protesters, Dr Zahid Muhiuddin and Dr Yasmin Rashid were leading the PMA activists and Shahtaj Qizalbash was leading the WAF protesters. The lawyers removed the last poster of the Pakistan Muslim League–Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q), hanging with a lamppost on The Mall, and set it ablaze. All the banners and posters of PML-Q candidates had been removed during the last Thursday’s rally.
After their general house meeting, the LHCBA lawyers – led by their president Ahsen Bhoon – joined the LBA rally at GPO Chowk, taken out from Aiwan-e-Adl in the leadership of Manzoor Qadir. Then the lawyers held a joint march towards Charing Cross. After remaining there for some time, the protesters dispersed peacefully.
General house meeting: Earlier, addressing the LHCBA general house meeting, various speakers stressed the need to ensure the boycott at the Lahore High Court, according to the call of the Pakistan Bar Council. Advocate Ahsan Wyne appealed to the politicians to join the lawyers’ movement for the independence of the judiciary.
Former LHCBA president Ahmed Awais said the judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) were job seekers and nothing more. The lawyers will not recognise them as judges, he said, adding “They have committed treason by betraying Pakistan and its constitution.” He urged the lawyers to ensure the complete boycott of the courts.
Supreme Court Bar Association secretary Amin Javed urged the lawyers to maintain unity and said some negative elements wanted to sabotage their movement. “This movement is not only for the restoration of the judiciary but also to save the country from disintegration. We are not afraid of anything, and are ready to face starvation. But we will not back away from our movement.” The LHCBA president stressed the need to form an independent parliament to get the deposed judges restored.