Fresh oath by sacked judges
Lawyers’ movement ‘running out of steam’
By Akhtar Amin
PESHAWAR: The lawyers’ movement for reinstatement of deposed judges is weakening with every passing day due to the government’s policy of re-appointment of judges through a fresh oath.
The legal fraternity seems helpless to continue the movement and to get the sacked chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry reinstated. Lawyer bodies in their general body meetings still demand reinstatement of Justice Chaudhry.
First, the government succeeded in detaching the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the parental body of the legal community, from the movement.
After PBC, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) President Abdul Lateef Afridi also tried to detach himself from the movement. He recently announced that the lawyer bodies should end the boycott of courts observed on every Thursday, saying that majority of the lawyers were violating the boycott decision and after re-appointment of deposed judges, lawyer bodies were helpless to stop the violation of boycott.
“We (the legal fraternity) should review the Thursday’s boycott decision. Majority of deposed judges have re-joined their posts on their November 2, 2007 positions,” Afridi told Daily Times on Saturday.
Now, it is the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) which is striving for reinstatement of the remaining sacked judges including deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.
The movement started on the day when Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry along with more than 60 other judges refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) promulgated by the former President General (r) Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007.
But after formation of democratic government in the country, majority of the deposed judges accepted re-appointment offer and only 15 sacked judges of superior courts out of 47 did not agree for re-appointment.
Barrister Bacha, a senior lawyer who played an active role in lawyers’ movement, said initially lawyers wanted to create awareness among the masses regarding supremacy of the constitution and independence of judiciary through their street protests.
They did not want to politicise their movement. But political parties’ infiltration into the movement corrupted its soul. The first bait they used was the idea of boycotting elections which the lawyers took.
Afterwards, he said, things started to go against the fraternity; decision to end the ‘long march’ without a sit-in caused a severe dent to the movement and their solidarity.
Other legal experts say deposed judges isolated the sacked chief justice by taking fresh oaths and weakened the lawyers’ year-long movement.