Pakistan lawyers demand restoration of sacked judges

March 9th, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, March 9 (IANS) Marking the first anniversary of chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s suspension, lawyers throughout Pakistan observed ‘black day’ Sunday and demanded immediate restoration of the sacked judges of the superior courts. President Pervez Musharraf had March 9 last year suspended chief justice Chaudhry who was restored four months later by his fellow judges in the Supreme Court. However, Musharraf Nov 3 imposed emergency in the country suspending all judges of the high and supreme courts.

Those judges who showed allegiance to him were restored while others remain suspended to date.

Since March 9 last year, the judges have staged protests and demonstrations for independence of the judiciary. Sunday they held gatherings throughout the country with black bands on their arms and heads. They shouted slogans against Musharraf.

Lawyers, led by Supreme Court Bar Association president Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, launched the campaign for restoration of the more than 50 suspended judges, including Justice Chaudhry.

On completion of one year of Justice Chaudhry’s suspension, they launched a “black flag week” and announced they would hold rallies and demonstrations in almost all cities of the country.

Lawyers hoisted black flags at their offices and bar association buildings. They said these flags would continue to fly until the judges are restored to their offices.

“If the new government failed to announce restoration of the judges, we’ll be forced to continue our struggle and agitation in the country,” Ahsan told IANS before leading a rally in Lahore. He said they would continue their struggle until the judges are restored.

The new government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is expected to be formed next week.

PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif met in Murree and agreed to reinstate the deposed judges through the newly elected parliament, according to early reports.

The two parties earlier agreed to form a coalition government at the centre and in Punjab province.

The PPP tops the tally after the Feb 18 elections while PML-N has secured the second position, and both decided to form a collation government despite bitter rivalries in the past.

According to sources in the PPP and PML-N, the judges will be restored through an act of parliament.

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