IT was certainly a black day in our history when General Musharraf imposed emergency on November 3 last year, no less intense than martial law, arbitrarily deposed the superior judiciary to preserve his rule, placed a number of apex court judges under house arrest and enforced sanctions on the media, severely compromising the individual's fundamental right to freedom and liberty. The event was rightly remembered yesterday as a black day by the legal fraternity that, while boycotting the courts, held rallies, sit-ins and other demonstrations. That lawyers in most parts of the country took to the streets on Monday and unanimously condemned these measures, bears testimony to the fact that the fraternity is united in its struggle for an independent judiciary. The election of Ali Ahmed Kurd as Supreme Court Bar Association President is being rightly perceived as an energy booster to the struggle. Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, addressing a gathering in the Rawalpindi District Bar, referred to various instances particularly the controversial judgement in Dosso case that paved the way for future military takeovers, and felt there was an urgent need to do away with the doctrine of necessity. Though General Musharraf has departed from the political scene, his legacy seems to have left its imprint on the present political set-up as well. The government has been found wanting in its duty to fulfil its promises, foremost among them the setting up of a free judiciary. The foot-dragging on the issue has been going on quite some time and President Asif Zardari's remarks, indicating the government's reluctance to reinstate the judges, are an example. The lawyers' rally demonstrated that it would be fallacious to think that the matter would lose its relevance with the passage of time. Indeed, the struggle to reinstate Chief Justice Chaudhry and others, has become a symbol of judicial independence and the government cannot ignore this reality. The legal fraternity is active again with its campaign, asking the political leadership to fulfil its promise. The PPP-led government, rather than seeing the movement as a threat, must view it as a struggle for restoring the rule of law as leaders in the legal community have assured. Under the circumstances, the best way would be to settle the issue keeping in view the commitments made in the Murree Declaration. The government, that is already beset with troubles on different fronts, would only be complicating them by keeping the black coats unhappy. Besides, it stands in danger of losing the trust of the electorate.