Gillani lauded for lawyers’ peaceful Long March

June 15th, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, June 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s decision to allow participants of the lawyers’ Long March to hold a rally in front of parliament here has drawn widespread appreciation from across the country. The prime minister himself led the panel that monitored the situation throughout Friday as the Long March concluded and held a series of meetings with the coalition partners to work out a strategy to deal with the event, The News reported Sunday.

Credit also goes to Pakistan Muslim League leaders Nisar Ali Khan, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Zafarul Haq, Maulana Fazlur Rehman who leads his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Awami National Party’s Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour “who met the prime minister regularly and made suggestions to handle the long march”, the newspaper quoted official sources as saying.

Political observers said that for the first time, a bold decision taken by the government had instantly paid off as both the march and the public meeting remained peaceful and disciplined while no damage was caused to life or property.

“This is definitely a first for Pakistan and something that happens only in established democracies,” one observer remarked.

The lawyers had staged the Long March to demand the restoration of more than 60 Supreme Court and High Court judges President Pervez Musharraf sacked after they refused to take a fresh oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) imposed along with last November’s emergency.

There is speculation that the government is ready to give in to their demand - but also retain the Supreme Court bench sworn in under the PCO.

This follows a statement by Finance Minister Naveed Qamar during his budget speech June 11.

Meanwhile, the lawyers action committee of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) is to meet soon to decide on its future strategy, including the possibility of staging a sit-in near parliament to demand the restoration of the deposed judges.

“We are going to hold a crucial meeting within the next few days to evolve the future course of strategy for the reinstatement of the deposed judges,” The News quoted Supreme Court Bar Association secretary Amin Javed as saying.

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