Lawyers Convention: divided we stand

* SCBA committee suspends secretary Aftab Ahmad Bajwa * Body’s president terms decision ‘illegal... without lawful authority’

Lawyers Convention: divided we stand

LAHORE: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Friday made it clear that the lawyers’ body would not be participating in today’s (Saturday’s) All Pakistan Lawyers Convention called by the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) in wake of Panamagate.

The SCBA Executive Committee in its 9th meeting on Friday, with a majority decision of 12 to 9 votes, suspended its secretary Aftab Ahmad Bajwa for “acting beyond his mandate” and “gross misconduct”.

On the other hand, SCBA President Rasheed A Rizvi, addressing a joint press conference with leaders of the LHCBA, termed the decision of the executive committee “illegal” and without lawful authority. He said that Aftab Bajwa was still the secretary of the bar. Rizvi was accompanied by LHCBA President Ch Zulfiqar Ali, Vice President Rashid Lodhi and Secretary Amir Saeed Rawn.

He also announced to take part in the May 20 convention at any cost. He disclosed that eight members of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) had supported the demand of the prime minister’s resignation at the May 5 Islamabad convention.

He said that the PBC body misled the lawyers and changed the declaration of the convention. He alleged that the PBC had been trying to divide the lawyers at the behest of the government.

Aftab Bajwa, addressing the press conference, said that the executive committee’s decision to suspend him was unlawful and without jurisdiction. He said that few members of the executive committee were demanding his resignation at the behest of the PML-N. He alleged that the PBC wanted to sell loyalty of the legal fraternity, but the lawyers would not let any conspiracy succeeded. Ch Zulfiqar accused the ruling elite of creating disturbances among the legal fraternity. He accused Punjab Governor Rafiq Rajwana of attempting to divide the lawyer by promising benefits. He maintained that the convention would be held in any case.

Rashad Ldohi and Amir Rawn said that the convention would prove that the legal fraternity was united on the demand of the PM’s resignation. They said that the PM had been established guilty and would have to go. They called it the first step towards eradication of corruption from society.