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    Sunday, April 30, 2017

    Pakistan Bar Council announces separate lawyers’ convention on May 5

    The Pakistan Bar Council [PBC] announced on Saturday its own lawyers’ convention in Islamabad, a day after the Lahore High Court Bar Association’s decision to chalk out its future strategy to force the prime minister to resign in the wake of the Panamagate verdict.It seems that Lawyers community has been split into two factions on the issue of Nawaz Sharif’s resignation 

    On Friday, the LHCBA – dominated by Hamid Khan group – announced it was convening an all Pakistan convention of lawyers’ representatives on May 13 in Lahore to devise the future plan after its earlier deadline for Nawaz Sharif’s resignation expired.
    On Saturday, however, the PBC announced its own lawyers’ convention in Islamabad on May 5 to force the PM to step down during investigations of the Joint Investigation Team [JIT] ordered to be formed by the top court to probe the Sharif family’s alleged graft.The PBC had earlier given a guarded response to the apex court verdict in Panamagate case.  However, the new position of the body – primarily controlled by Asma Jahangir group – is a setback for the federal government, which it is already facing tough times on different fronts
    The PBC executive committee announced this after its meeting held under Chairman Chaudhry Hafizur Rehman, who later told The Express Tribune the committee unanimously demanded the PM step down for 60 days until the JIT completed inquiry.
    “We will be inviting the LHCBA representatives but will not go to their convention on May 13,” he said.
    After consultations with the lawyer bodies’ representatives, the PBC – which is the regulatory body of the country’s lawyers – would announce a comprehensive plan against the PM.
    “The PBC demands the PM appear before the JIT like a common citizen as the team cannot hold impartial investigation against him if he appears before it as the prime minister,” Rehman said.
    PBC Vice-Chairman Ahsan Bhoon said he had asked LHCBA President Chaudhry Zulfiqar on Friday to wait for at least one more day so that they could announce a unanimous plan but the latter did not bother.
    “The LHCBA is apparently taking a solo flight on the issue in view of some personal agenda but the PBC will take all bars into confidence and not act as a pawn for any political party,” Bhoon claimed.
    In its meeting held on April 22 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Panamagate verdict, the LHCBA had given the prime minister one week to resign, threatening an anti-government movement ‘more intense than the 2007 lawyers’ movement against General Pervez Musharraf’.
    Independent lawyers believe that through this move the Asma group either wants to gain popularity on the issue or desires to control sentiments of lawyers before any announcement by their opponent group [Hamid Khan group], which played a pivotal role in the 2007 movement.
    The Asma Jahangir group enjoys a majority in the apex body of lawyers [PBC] while the Hamid Khan group is in majority at the Supreme Court Bar Association [SCBA] and the LHCBA.
    SCBA Secretary General Aftab Bajwa said the PBC was just a regularly body and not a lawyers’ representative body.  He urged the PBC to participate in the LHCBA convention of May 13.
    “The SCBA executive body will meet on May 2 to decide whether we should participate in the PBC’s convention or not,” he said.
    An insider told this scribe the superior bars were annoyed with the federal government for not fulfilling its commitment for issuing financial grants. “Government functionaries promised to release financial grants and resolve issues especially regarding the SCBA housing scheme but they did not,” he said.
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    Item Reviewed: Pakistan Bar Council announces separate lawyers’ convention on May 5 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar