LAHORE – Lawyers have warned of a countrywide movement seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “if the premier does not step down in seven days” in the wake of Panama probe.
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Both major lawyers’ bodies – the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) – issued a joint notification on Saturday, stating that in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Panama Papers case, the prime minister should no longer hold the position and should therefore resign.
The notification came soon after SCBA and LHCBA members clashed with lawyers supporting the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government at the all Pakistan lawyers’ representatives convention on Saturday.
The PML-N’s Lawyers Wing tried to prevent members of the SCBA and LHCBA from reaching the convention stage and starting its proceedings.
As the clash continued, pro-PML-N lawyers took SCBA president Rasheed A. Rizvi to a library on the premises and locked him in. Rizvi was later freed when the locks were broken by SCBA members.
The PML-N’s Lawyers Wing representatives said the Panama Papers case was still sub judice and therefore demands for the prime minister’s resignation at this point were not appropriate.
They further stated that representatives of the LHCBA and SCBA did not represent any real movement and were in fact acting on behalf of certain political parties.
Earlier in April, the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) had given a similar ultimatum to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The bar association had asked the premier to resign within a week, or face a lawyers’ movement bigger than the one that followed ex-Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s ouster in General Musharraf’s era.