Guest post by Silence from Islamabad Observer blog
The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has suspended the practicing licences of advocates Mahmood Ashraf and Rana Naveed, President and General Secretary, respectively of the Lahore High Court (Multan bench) for allegedly misbehaving with Latif Khosa, Attorney General of Pakistan, who also acts as an ex-officio Chairman of PBC. The PBC also restrained them from functioning as office bearers and operating the Bar accounts.
According to details, High Court Bar Association of Multan had banned Sardar Latif Khosa’s entry in Multan High Court Bar in a meeting of ‘General House’, yet he arrived at High Court Bar accompanied by lawyers belonging to People’s Lawyers Forum. The Secretary Bar, Rana Naveed and some other lawyers objected to Khosa’s presence there and ask him to leave and started to chant slogans demanding restoration of Chief Justice of Pakistan, Ifthakhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Interestingly, High Court Bar Association is an independent organization, regulated by its own constitution and Pakistan Bar Council can not suspend its office bearers. PBC also has no powers under the Bar Council’s Act to interfere in to its functioning or to regulate its accounts. Secondly, at present, Pakistan Bar Council do not possess any powers to suspend the practicing licenses of lawyers. These powers were withdrawn during Musharraf’s emergency and PCO, the proposed amendment in to Bar Councils Act is still not before the parliament.
Apart from the arguments about validity of decision of Pakistan Bar Council, President and Secretary of High Court Bar are custodians of the Bar and it’s their duty to implement the decisions of the house. As, the house has passed a unanimous resolution banning entry of AG, they were performing their duty under the law while asking AG to leave the Bar premises. Performance of their functions under the law does not constitute misconduct or a reason to suspend their licences and deprive them earning a living as lawyers.
Unfortunately, after the biased and illegal decision of Pakistan Bar Council, the only forum available to them is to file a petition before High Court, which is composed of notorious ‘PCO’ judges. The outcome of any such appeal before handpicked judges of former dictator Pervez Musharraf is not difficult to imagine. As a result, the two top office bearers of High Court Bar Multan would be out of business and unable to earn living for indefinite period of time.
Musharraf regime was unable to this with lawyer’s community, as majority of PCB members was in favor of restoration of deposed judges and CJ. Since the democratic government took power, it successfully bought loyalties of 2 out of 11 members of PBC by offering them profitable posts and thus PPP got a simple majority in PBC. Since then PBC has actually become an extension of Musharraf’s regime and a tool to victimize lawyers who are protesting for restoration of deposed judges.
Is this, for what nation voted for Pakistan Peoples Party?