'Cold war' between bar and bench intensifying
17 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Cold war between superior bars and the bench is intensifying, as the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has decided to hold a seminar of all Pakistan lawyers' representatives on the issues of freedom of expression as well as overuse of contempt of court law by the superior courts on August 24.
LHCBA President Abid Saqi told our sources that the bar association would host a daylong seminar on August 24, in which all the lawyers' representatives as well as senior lawyers, including Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Asma Jahangir, Ali Ahmad Kurd and Tariq Mahmood, had been invited to address on the two topics.
Expressing concern over the use of contempt of court laws against parliamentarians during the last four years, Saqi observed that the contempt law was being misused by the superior courts.
He further said that lawyers had been feeling that after the Supreme Court's decision in changing the presidential election's schedule on July 24, freedom of the media was also under threat.
In November 2012, the Human Rights Watch's (HRW) had also recommended that Pakistani superior courts should stop using their contempt of court power to prevent the media from airing programmes that were critical of the judiciary. It has been noticed that the superior judiciary was losing popularity in the superior bars day by day.
A general body meeting of the LHCBA adopted a resolution on July 30, demanding presidential references against CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed for their alleged violation of the constitution in their judgement on the election of the president.
Likewise, when the CJP arrived in SC Quetta Registry to hear cases before Eid, a complete boycott was observed in all the courts of Balochistan against the Judicial Commission of Pakistan's decisions to appoint three additional judges in the Balochistan High Court and to reject the lawyers' objections over them.
It has also been learnt that the superior bars are also considering writing a letter to the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment for expressing their concern regarding the nomination of three additional judges in the Balochistan High Court. The committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Haji Adeel, will hold a meeting on August 19.
On August 7, the Pakistan Bar Council passed four different resolutions against the role of the superior judiciary, condemning the overuse of contempt of court power by the Supreme Court against politicians.
It is worth mentioning that a large number of pro-judiciary lawyers are also opposing the Supreme Court's decision to initiate contempt of court proceedings against PTI Chairman Imran Khan because PTI Vice Chairman Hamid Khan is heading this lawyers' group since the start of the lawyers' movement.
On the other hand, the Rawalpindi Bar Association, which is known as a loyalist bar of the incumbent judiciary, is aggressively defending the superior judiciary.
President of LHC Bar of Rawalpindi division, Taufiq Asif, and Rawalpindi District Bar President Israrul Haq have disowned the resolution adopted by the LHCBA. Likewise, pro-judges group of lawyers is also still dominant in the Sindh Bar Council.