Pak lawyers to undertake 'Long March'

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Lahore, Apr 8: The legal fraternity in Pakistan has warned that it will organise a "Long March" across the country if the coalition government does not restore the sacked judiciary within 30 days of its formation.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters here on Monday that all sacked judges would also join the "Long March". He said no "package" or "formula" that did not include the restoration of all the judges, including sacked chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, would be accepted. Aitzaz said both major coalition parties, the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, had promised in the Murree Declaration that all judges would be restored. He said that if the government wanted to strengthen the judiciary through some constitutional package, then it should do so, adding that the restoration of the judges was a separate issue for which the lawyers' struggle would continue.

Ahsan also informed that the sacked chief justice planned address to bar associations across the country had been postponed on the request of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and Law Minister Farooq H Naek. Meanwhile, Federal law Minister Farooq Naek has rebutted suggesttions that a summary has been prepared to cut the tenure of the higher court judges. Naek said the sacked judges will be restored in accordance with the wishes of the people.

According to Geo News, he told media after meeting a delegation of lawyers that he was not considering any proposal to reduce the terms of the judges of the superior judiciary. He said that a parliamentary committee comprising members from the ruling coalition would be formed to formulate recommendations for a proposed parliamentary resolution that would restore the sacked judiciary.

The Law Ministry has not yet started work on the issue of restoration of sacked judges. Officials said the ministry was still waiting for formation of a parliamentary committee to prepare a draft package for restoring the sacked judges. The draft package would be presented before parliament for approval, they added. Pakistan People's Party (PPP) co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has told a delegation that his party would restore the sacked judges, including sacked chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

ANI

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