Lawyers clash
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Following a much-awaited lawyer’s convention, The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) 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.

This declaration from the two bodies followed a violent clash between SCBA and LHCBA members and lawyers supporting the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government at the All Pakistan lawyers’ representatives convention organized by SCBA on Saturday.

Read More: Beware, Pakistani Lawyers are not to be taken lightly!

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.

The clash was initiated after 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.

Pro PML-N lawyers went so far as to forcefully take SCBA president Rasheed A. Rizvi to a library on the premises and locked him inside. Rizvi was later freed when the locks were broken by SCBA members.

Speaking to media representatives after he had been freed, Rizvi, accompanied by Secretary SCBA Aftab Bajwa and LHCBA President Zulfiqar Chaudhry, avowed that the convention would be held despite any adverse circumstances.

As the clash subsided both bar associations expressed 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 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.

PML-N supporting lawyers adopted the position that the Panama Papers case was still sub-judice therefore the demands for the prime minister’s resignation at this point were not appropriate.

The legal fraternity in Pakistan has flexed its muscles back in 2007, when ex-president Pervez Musharraf removed then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ movement that followed, gained enough momentum to result in the reinstatement of the deposed judiciary.

They accused the representatives of the LHCBA and SCBA of not representing any real movement but rather acting on behalf of certain political parties.

Read More: Divisions in Lawyers community hold back protests for PM resignation

Earlier in April, LHCBA had given a similar ultimatum to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The bar association had asked the premier to resign within a week, or face a lawyers’ movement bigger than the one that followed ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s ouster.

This ultimatum had proved controversial because it caused a rift among the lawyer community. In April the SCBA had expressed the view that this demand was premature at that time. However, both the LHCBA and SCBA now appear to be on the same page and the consensus which had previously not been able to materialize is at the moment a reality.

The legal fraternity in Pakistan has flexed its muscles back in 2007, when ex-president Pervez Musharraf removed then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ movement that followed, gained enough momentum to result in the reinstatement of the deposed judiciary.

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