ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has taken findings of the joint investigation team (JIT) against ruling Sharif family as an opportunity to bargain for their housing scheme. As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is already in hot waters due to damning findings against him and his family in the Panama Papers case, the SCBA on Friday summoned a meeting in an attempt to pressurise the government for release of their land. The meeting resolved that the association would start a mass campaign against the government and stage massive protests on the Constitutional Avenue demanding resignation of the PM if their land was not released despite payment of Rs 6 billion. Sources said that the bar would demand resignation of the PM in the garb of JIT report and use it as a bargaining chip to get land for their housing colony released. Independent lawyers are severely criticizing dubious role of the SCBA in the prevailing situation. They believe that the bar is criticising the government just for their personal interests, instead of any national cause. When contacted, SCBA Additional Secretary Aslam Ghumman told Daily Times that the matter of housing scheme had been a long standing issue of the legal fraternity. He said that the bar had already paid Rs 6 billion for land for the housing scheme but the authorities in connivance with the real estate mafia had been creating hurdles in the way of their legal right. It is pertinent to mention here that the SCBA had filed a petition in the Supreme Court over the matter. However, the top court’s orders have not been complied with by the authorities as yet. The federal government had approved a housing scheme for the legal fraternity of the Supreme Court and more than 3,000 lawyers have already paid the amount for allotment of land, which collectively amounts to Rs 6 billion, near Chak Shehzad. According to the SCBA, an amount of Rs 6 billion has been credited to the account of the Ministry of Housing which is receiving Rs 200 million per month as interest. During the meeting on Friday, the members of SCBA committees expressed their confidence on President Rasheed A Rizvi’s leadership with regard to bar’s future strategy on Panama case and the JIT findings. Ghumman said that everybody present at the meeting has authorised the president to decide the future strategy of the association. He further said that a meeting is scheduled to be held on Saturday (today) wherein members of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) and the SCBA will gather to devise future strategy regarding the JIT report. Published in Daily Times, July 15th , 2017.