- A straw in the wind
The lawyers sit-in outside the Supreme Court on Friday brought together leaders of the legal profession from all the four provinces regardless of their political orientations and group affiliations. The protest was jointly led by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the two prestigious national organisations of the legal community. Besides the present SCBA President Amanullah Kanrani, several former SCBA association Presidents also participated in the sit in.
There was a consensus among the former presidents of the SCBA that the reference filed against the judges was mala fide as it was prepared at someone’s instigation. Mr Yasin Azad maintained that Prime Minister Imran Khan was just being used though this in no way exonerated him. PTI leader and respected jurist Hamid Khan maintained that the reference was filed with the aim of pressurising he judges at the behest of ‘secret forces’. Rashid A Rizvi, a former Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, maintained that the reference was filed under pressure from what he called the “invisible government.”
While the senior lawyers spoke in a balanced legal jargon, the younger lot coming from districts of various provinces resorted to slogans that both electronic and print media desisted from reporting. But these are freely available on the social media which has of late gained immense popularity among the people. There is a need on the part of those being held responsible for the references to realise that in case of the protests turning into a movement slogans of the sort will be heard at gatherings all over the country, as happened during the lawyers’ movement in 2007. There is a tendency among those in power to be misled by pleasing reports presented by sycophants or sleuths of the intelligence agencies. Former President Musharraf simply failed to realise the potential of the 2007 lawyers’ movement. He even claimed that he could not see from the windows of the Presidency anyone shouting slogans against him. It is time those in power take notice of ground realities instead of living in a make-believe world of their own. The government must realise the gravity of the situation. It is still possible to withdraw the references and defuse the brewing unrest.