Lawyers warn LHC to refuse authority over licenses
By Abid Butt
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and the Punjab Bar Council (PBC) on Tuesday warned the Lahore High Court administration to reject any effort by the government to authorise the high court to issue and cancel lawyers’ licenses.
Asking the LHC not fall “into a trap laid by the government to the sow the seeds of conflict between the bench and the bar”, many PBC (PBC) members told a press conference that the government’s repeated attempts to create disunity among lawyers had failed.
They said they would resign if the PBC elections were not held on November 30. Ahmed Awais, president of the LHCBA, told the press conference that the government’s
intentions to empower high courts to issue and cancel lawyers’ licenses and delay the PBC elections was a ploy to fan controversy between lawyers and judges.
LHCBA Secretary General Azam Nazir Tarar, Lahore Bar President Mirza Hanif Baig, PBC members Shahid Mehmood Bhatti, Nusrat Javed Bajwa, Ziaullah Khan and former LHCBA vice president MM Alam Chaudhry also attended the press conference.
The LHCBA president said the government wanted to corner lawyers because their struggle for the rule of law and independence of judiciary had proved the only opposition for the government.
Mr Awais was reacting to a letter by the ex-officio PBC Chairman and Advocate General Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi to the PBC that after the dissolution of powers from the divisional to the district level the government has yet not amended the Bar Council’s rules to make the things appropriate.
The advocate general said that bar councils’ elections should not be held until necessary amendments were made in the law governing the bar councils.
The LHCBA president said lawyers were determined to retain the authority to issue and cancel lawyers’ licenses and would ask high courts to reject any proposal to exercise that authority. The LHCBA president said lawyers rejected the Punjab advocate general’s proposal to defer PBC elections on account.
PBC member Ziaullah Khan said lawyers would never allow the government to sabotage lawyers’ movements by creating controversies.
LHCBA Secretary General Azam Nazir Tarar said he had met the LHC chief justice, who assured him of turning down any government offer to authorise the high court to issue and cancel lawyers’ licenses.
Advocate Khadim Hussain Qaiser said that instead of depriving the PBC of its power to issue and cancel lawyers’ licenses, the government should eliminate the law of contempt of court against lawyers.
Nusrat Bajwa, Zialullah Niazi, Shahid Bhatti, Hanif Beg and others members of the PBC also said that they would resign if the elections were not held in time and would not benefit from any delay in the holding of elections.
The LHCBA president said that government agencies were trying to “manufacture” an excuse to postpone the PCB elections “so that they can make the PBC as undemocratic as the government itself”.