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Lawyers want SCBA to distance itself from current political scene

Maqsood Buttar says bar associations should not allow any political party to use them for their own agendas

Lawyers from the Professional Group of Hamid Khan on Thursday opposed the steps taken by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), which has become a party to the ongoing political matter of no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The lawyers said that the move by the top bar of the country was against the norms of the legal fraternity, and pointed out that the apex court would deliver an impartial decision on the matter.

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“We, the lawyers, don’t want to become instruments of any political party,” said Advocate Maqsood Buttar, the former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), while addressing a press conference at the bar association on Thursday.

“We condemn such elements that are using the platform of the country’s top bar to pursue the agenda of a political party,” he said. He categorically said that the bar association should not allow any political party to use them for their own agendas.

The reaction comes at a moment when the Supreme Court of Pakistan is engaged in the hearing of a petition moved by the Supreme Court Bar Association regarding public gatherings of both government and the opposition at D-Chowk in the federal capital.

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The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that the lawmakers were bound to follow the policy of the political party they were affiliated with.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and consisting of Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel was hearing the reference along with a plea filed by the SCBA against the public gatherings of the opposition and the government in Islamabad – ahead of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Buttar said it was highly condemnable that certain elements were using the offices of the SCBA and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the lawyers’ top regulatory body in the country.

“The SCBA filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan challenging lifetime disqualification,” said Buttar, adding that it should not have happened.

Talking about the role of the bar association, he said that their role should be transparent and fair. The bars always played an important role in setting the record straight, he added.

The former LHCBA chief also said that the bar associations should assist the courts in dispensation of justice instead of becoming a party to any case. The bars, he said, should focus on resolving the issues of the lawyers.

“We strongly condemned that the bar has been mortgaged,” he said, expecting the apex court would deliver a good decision on the matter under question.

Advocate Rao Sami, the president of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) also strongly opposed the move of the SCBA.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain also said that after reading the reply of the SCBA in presidential reference in Supreme Court, it seemed as if the bar was a subsidiary of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

In a tweet, the minister said that the job of lawyers’ organisations was not to become tools of political parties but to maintain their independent status. He also said that common lawyers were dissatisfied with the role of lawyers’ organisations.

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