The representatives of different lawyers’ bodies on Tuesday demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold general elections within 90 days and also urged the president to play his constitutional role in announcing the date of general elections. The demand was made at the All Pakistan Lawyers Representatives Conference in Islamabad at the office of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) at the Supreme Court building with Vice Chairman Haroonur Rashid, Chairman Hassan Raza Pasha and PBC executive committee in the chair. According to a statement issued by the PBC, the conference considered the matters of prevailing and current constitutional crisis in the country, raids on houses of lawyers and registration of FIRs against them, holding of general elections, price hike including exorbitant increase in electricity bills as well as petrol prices. The meeting also discussed the issues of missing persons, reference filed against a judge of Supreme Court by Pakistan and provincial/Islamabad bar councils. “The speculations about the delay in general elections were noticed with grave concern. The house unanimously demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan hold free and fair general elections within a period of 90 days as provided in Article 224 of the Constitution and President of Pakistan should play its constitutional role and announce the date of general elections in order to uphold the Supremacy of the Constitution,” the statement read. It said that the recent exorbitant increase in electricity bills as well as extraordinary increase in petroleum prices were also noticed with serious concerns. “This has made the life of citizens miserable on one hand and on the other, the privileged class including the government officials and the public sector corporations are enjoying free electricity, gas, petrol and other facilities etc., which amounts to billions of rupees,” it added. It was demanded of the government during the meeting that such privileges of all officials of the state or public sector corporations enjoying free-of-charge facilities on state expenses be stopped forthwith and the facilities available to the elite class and a common man should be the same and there should be no discrimination. It was also resolved that all high-ranking officials from the prime minister to the secretary level of the federal as well as provincial governments, who take pay from the public exchequer should not be allowed to leave the country after their retirement and their children should get education in public schools and colleges and medical treatment from public hospitals, otherwise they should resign from their posts. Further, the children of the poor and rich should be provided equal facilities and be treated equally. It was further demanded of the designated Chief Justice of Pakistan that after taking oath as the chief justice the references filed by the Pakistan Bar Council as well as provincial/Islamabad bar councils against a judge of the Supreme Court should be placed before the Supreme Judicial Council for consideration and disposal in accordance with law. “The manhandling and arrests of advocates while performing their professional duties is highly unjustified and the same was strongly condemned. The house demanded that all arrested advocates should be released immediately and further demanded full implementations of the ‘Lawyers Protections Act’ in letter and spirit,” it added. It was resolved that political parties should take steps for holding elections within 90 days and the bar leadership would not allow the legal fraternity to be used for furthering any political agenda of any political party. “Political parties are the main stakeholders and the interim government should organise an all-parties conference on the recent economic crisis without wasting any time and the delegation of the Pakistan Bar Council will have a meeting with the prime minister in order to help build a political consensus. It was also decided that on September 9, the lawyers throughout the country would observe a complete strike from all the courts and no lawyer would appear in any court to show solidarity with general public and protest regarding the above issues.