LAHORE/PESHAWAR - Reappointment of sacked Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Tariq Pervez, a staunch supporter of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and lawyers movement, is a big blow to the lawyers struggle to reinstate deposed judges particularly Iftikhar Chaudhry on their original positions.
Justice Pervez was standing firm until Thursday and had categorically said that he was not ready to accept any offer of fresh oath.
The news of Tariq Pervez, one of the committed comrades of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, taking fresh oath on Friday (today) landed as a bomb shell on the legal fraternity, especially for lawyers leadership already finding hard to hold the defections from their ranks.
With the re-appointment of Chief Justice Pervez alongwith three other deposed judges of PHC, the number of deposed judges yet to take oath or be reinstated has further reduced to 23 from 43 as the deposed judges started accepting the offer of the present government.
It is to be noted that 43 judges of Supreme Court and three high courts, excluding Balochistan High Court (where all five had taken oath under PCO) had refused to take oath under PCO and left their respective offices.
However, since November 3 one deposed judge of SC, two of Sindh High Court and one of Lahore High Court retired on attaining the age of superannuation. While the eight judges of SHC and four of LHC had accepted their reappointment last week.
Justice Pervez as a sitting CJ, alongwith his fellow judges had warmly received Justice Iftikhar Muhammad when he had visited Peshawar High Court Bar Association last year in April after his sacking by Pervez Musharraf.
Four PHC judges had refused to take fresh oath under Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) after the imposition of emergency by Pervez Musharraf on November 3. These judges include Justice Tariq Pervez, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, Justice Shah Jehan Khan and Justice Aijaz Afzal.
The PPP govt has played their cards cleverly and successfully. First it reorganised People's Lawyers Forum who are present in visible numbers in every bar association.
Following the party's line they abandoned their support to lawyers movement. Secondly the govt got the support of Pakistan Bar Council by giving it grant of Rs 50 million. Resultantly PBC announced that no long march or sit-in would be held.
Meanwhile, Punjab Bar Council also withdrew its support to lawyers and in return was awarded with a cheque of Rs 30 million by the Federal government.
Then the govt focused on the deposed judges and managed to persuade them to take fresh oath.
It is also expected that some sacked judges of the Supreme Court would also accept offer of fresh oath in coming days.
A senior lawyer said the lawyers leadership would have to sit again and rethink what went wrong, otherwise, the movement is on the verge of collapsing.
Report from Peshawar: The deposed Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan and three other judges of Peshawar High Court are likely to take oath today, as the deposed Chief Justice gave consent on Thursday.
"Yes, I have given my consent today," said Justice Tariq Pervez Khan told TheNation Thursday.
Justice Shah Jehan Khan Yousafzai, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Dost Mohammad Khan besides Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan were amongst those judges who had refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order on November 3, 2007.
The sources said that the other deposed judges of PHC, Justice Shahjehan Khan Yousafzai, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, would also be notified. However, oath-taking ceremony time is likely to be notified today, the source said.