LAHORE: Lawyers across the country observed a black day Monday and boycotted court proceedings on the call of the Pakistan Bar Council and the Punjab Bar Council to protest the newly passed Contempt of Court Act 2012.
The Pakistan Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) all issued a unanimous strike call against the new law. Expressing their solidarity with the Supreme Court and the superior judiciary, the legal fraternity in all major cities urged the government to withdraw the act passed by the National Assembly. In Lahore lawyers hoisted black flags on top of bar association buildings and mounted black flags on their vehicles. Owing to the strike, high court judges only heard cases of an urgent nature and did not undertake any judicial work after 11am, while a complete strike was observed at the district judiciary throughout the province.
Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) Chairman Advocate Azher Siddique told reporters that lawyers would continue to demonstrate against the new law until the decision was reversed and it was withdrawn by the Assembly.
In Multan and Faisalabad, lawyers chanted slogans in favour of the judiciary and wore black armbands as a gesture of their solidarity with the judiciary. They said the Contempt of Court Act was a blatant violation of fundamental rights, and had been introduced for the sole purpose of protecting Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in case he defied the apex court order of writing to Swiss authorities to reopen cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
In Karachi and Hyderabad, lawyers also boycotted court proceedings and decried the latest measure taken by the rulers of the country. “We will stand by the superior judiciary against the government’s attempt to undermine its dignity. The new contempt law is a black law as it is aimed at subduing the free judiciary,” the lawyers asserted. They also demanded that the government implement all judicial orders in both letter and spirit.
In Quetta, lawyers vowed to fight any and all such amendments to the Constitution, and maintained that the only purpose of the amended law was to save Prime Minister Ashraf from the implementation of the NRO judgement. They vowed to launch a massive movement against the rulers who were only interested in saving their own black money through the promulgation of such laws. They also lamented that the country’s parliamentarians, instead of resolving public grievances, were busy serving their own vested interests.