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Minister accused of linking bar grant with resolution on Justice Isa

Minister accused of linking bar grant with resolution on Justice Isa

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) on Saturday accused Federal Law Minister Farogh Nasim of linking its annual grant with a resolution against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who recently survived a reference from the federal government.

“The law minister has been pressurising us to pass a resolution against Justice Isa like some other small bar associations in Punjab have done recently,” LHCBA secretary Khwaja Mohsin Abbas told Dawn.

He belongs to the Independent group, famously known as the late Asma Jahangir group.

He said the federal government had not been releasing the lawful annual grant to the bar and exerting pressure on it through different quarters to fulfil the agenda of incumbent rulers. The law ministry had been at the forefront in the whole episode, he added.

Abbas said the grant was not a charity by the government but a constitutionally protected right of the bars under the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973.

When contacted, LHCBA President Maqsood Buttar, who belongs to the Hamid Khan-led Professional group, said the law ministry had not formally put any demand to pass a resolution about Justice Isa.

However, he maintained that the bar had its firm view that it will always stand by the judiciary against any attack from outside.

Buttar said the bar had requested the government for a grant of Rs100 million but the law ministry asked him to receive a cheque for Rs5m.

“I refused to receive the grant,” he added.

It merits mentioning that [law minister] Naseem is also a member of the professional group and was previously elected to the Pakistan Bar Council being a candidate of the group.

Last month, the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) had expressed its intention to become a party in the Justice Isa case to play its role to ensure supremacy of law and the Constitution in the country.

A statement issued by the LBA’s executive committee said the bar could not keep itself aloof from the case of Justice Isa.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2021

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