Opposing parties’ lawyers clash at Lahore High Court
The Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association have threatened to launch a countrywide movement calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if the premier does not step down in seven days.
Both bar associations are of the view that in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Panama Papers case, the prime minister should no longer hold the position and should therefore resign, a joint notification issued by the two bar associations said.
The notification from the two bodies came soon after SCBA and LHCBA members clashed with lawyers supporting the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N government at the all Pakistan lawyers’ representatives convention on Saturday.
The convention was called to reiterate the lawyers’ demand for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation in wake of the Panama case verdict and also discuss the role of the bar associations in this regard.
Saturday’s clash between the two sides began as members from the PML-N’s Lawyers Wing tried to prevent members of the SCBA and LHCBA from reaching the convention stage and starting its proceedings.
As the clash went on, pro-PML-N lawyers took SCBA president Rasheed A. Rizvi to a library on the premises and locked him in. Rizvi was later freed when the locks were broken by SCBA members.
Speaking to media representatives after he was taken out of the library, Rizvi, who was accompanied by Secretary SCBA Aftab Bajwa and LHCBA President Zulfiqar Chaudhry, asserted that the convention would be held under any circumstances.
The PML-N’s Lawyers Wing representatives said the Panama Papers case was still sub judice and that was why demands for the prime minister’s resignation at this point were not appropriate.
They further stated that representatives of the LHCBA and SCBA did not represent any real movement and were in fact acting on behalf of certain political parties.
A suspended member of the Supreme Court Bar Association Aftab Bajwa was also injured after he was pushed from the stage while another lawyer fainted in the chaos.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Rasheed A Rizvi said that the government cannot take criticism. If the government can’t take criticism how can we expect it to let the Joint Investigation Team [of the Panama case] continue its investigation, he added. The lawyers in favour of the convention also decided to hold a rally against the ‘reaction of the government’.
Lawyers from across the country had reached Lahore for the convention, which was eventually held after the delay.