Pro-judiciary lawyers face tough time in Punjab
15 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The pro-judiciary lawyers group is facing a tough time in Punjab, as the independent group of lawyers has been victorious in most of the district bar associations in the annual election.
According to the details, Independent Lawyers Panel, which is known as a pro-government group, on Saturday won the annual election in major bars of Punjab, by virtue of its victory in Lahore and Islamabad bars. Top jurists believe that the bars' election results reflect lawyers desire for an independent bar and that they do not want unnecessary interference of the judiciary in political affairs.
An active member of Independent Lawyers Group, Ramzan Chaudhry, says that this election result shows that lawyers wanted an independent bar, which should be free from the influence of judiciary or the government. He also said that former law minister Babar Awan had played an important role in strengthening the pro-government lawyers group across the country.
On the other hand, a senior leader of the pro-judiciary lawyers group, Salheen Mughal, has rejected the perception that their group is losing majority in Punjab because they won election with a wide margin in Rawalpindi Bar Association, which is known as a loyalist of the incumbent judiciary.
Pakistan People's Party's senior lawyer Sajid Tanoli contends that although the presidential candidate of the pro-judiciary group won the election in Rawalpindi bar but general secretary Malik Zahir Arshad, a PPP lawyer, was got victorious. It has also been learnt that the Independent Lawyers Penal is also considering to nominate former Islamabad High Court judge Qalbe Hassan as new vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council.
The PBC executive body will elect its new vice chairman on January 22 and it is expected that the pro-government lawyers group would easily elect Qalbe Hassan because they have a clear majority in the apex body of the lawyers. Meanwhile, the PBC has also decided to send a written request to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for a meeting to apprise him about the bar's reservations regarding the Judicial Commission of Pakistan.
One PBC executive member says that a letter would be written on today (Monday) to the CJP on behalf of the bar council's vice chairman, Akhtar Hussain, in this regard. It is worth mentioning that the deadlock between superior bars and the JCP has worsened as the PBC and other provincial bars have refused to nominate their representatives for the JCP until their reservations regarding the commission's proceedings are addressed.
The superior bars are sticking to their stance of not sending their representatives to the JCP meetings because lawyers have reservations regarding the commission's proceedings about the appointment of judges. The pro-government group has also been securing majority in the Supreme Court Bar Association for the last three years, as the SCBA had on December 21, 2012, organised a grand seminar in Lahore and passed a resolution, which raised several questions against the role of the incumbent superior judiciary.
In the resolution, lawyers noted that the superior courts judges must act with restraint and the suo motu jurisdiction should be used sparingly. The bar has also demanded the SC to refrain from setting up commissions of inquiries and demanded amendment in the Supreme Court Rule 1980. It added that appeal should be allowed in all cases which are initiated directly under Article 184 (3) of the constitution. Legal experts say that it is big challenge for the Supreme Court how it would respond to the SCBA's demand.