All Pakistan Lawyers Convention Announces Strike on Sept 14 to Safeguard Constitution and Demand Elections within 90 Days

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The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has called for a countrywide strike of lawyers on September 14 to defend the Constitution, uphold the rule of law, and protect human rights. In a statement released after the All Pakistan Lawyers Convention in Islamabad, the SCBA announced that lawyers across the country will hold peaceful protests in the form of rallies on September 14.

One of the resolutions passed at the convention includes the demand for general elections to be held within the constitutionally mandated timeframe of 90 days following the dissolution of the assemblies. The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) also passed a resolution urging President Arif Alvi to fulfill his constitutional responsibility and announce a date for the general elections.

The calls for strikes stem from the differing stances taken by stakeholders on the timeframe for holding general elections and who has the authority to decide the final poll date. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has stated that elections cannot be held this year, citing the need to complete the notification of results of the 2023 census and the requirement to delimit constituencies after every officially published census.

However, President Alvi has invited Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja to a meeting to determine an appropriate date. This invitation is based on the president’s duty, as stipulated in the Constitution, to ensure that elections are conducted within the 90-day period following the premature dissolution of the National Assembly. The recent amendment to the Elections Act 2017 grants the ECP the power to unilaterally announce the election dates without consulting the president.

The lawyers’ convention organized by the SCBA has adopted a resolution emphasizing the need to hold the general elections within the constitutionally prescribed timeframe and asserting that the ECP and other institutions are constitutionally obligated to fulfill this duty. The resolution also underscores the importance of civilian supremacy, the rule of law, and the independence and integrity of constitutional institutions in maintaining a strong democracy.

Additionally, the resolution condemns the participation of the armed forces and government officials in political activities, the inducement or pressure on judges for desired verdicts, and the arrests, detentions, and harassment of individuals by military or intelligence agencies. It calls for those responsible for such actions to be punished under the law and for the transfer of individuals held in military or intelligence agency custody to relevant civilian law authorities for presentation before civilian courts.

The convention also acknowledges the economic challenges facing the country and invites all stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue to find solutions to address the economic depression. The SCBA offers its platform for discussions on this matter.

The resolution passed at the All Pakistan Lawyers Convention affirms the unwavering commitment of lawyers to justice, democracy, and the well-being of the nation.

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