SHAHID RAO & ISRAR AHMED RAWALPINDI - Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that the incumbent Assembly hasn't endorsed the illegal measures taken by former dictator Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007 and it is hoped that it wouldn't do so. The movement of lawyers and media has created awareness among the people about the freedom of judiciary and it has been realised that supremacy of law and Constitution is inevitable for the country, Chaudhry added. The deposed Chief Justice Monday expressed these views while addressing the National Lawyers' Convention here at District Courts. The convention was organized by District Bar Association (DBA) Rawalpindi to mark the Black Day to protest against the imposition of emergency by former president Pervez Musharraf on the same date last year. The deposed CJ said it was very unfortunate that out of 61 years of the country's history, the span of democratic rule was limited to only 24 years. Unluckily all the martial laws enforced by different dictators in 1958, 1969 and 1977 were validated by the apex court due to certain reasons, he lamented. "Musharraf imposed martial law second time on November 3, 2007 in the name of emergency just to save his skin but this unique kind of martial law was only against judiciary and media. The entire government, Parliament and Provincial Assemblies were allowed to function," he added. Chaudhry revealed that during the period of July 20, 2007 to November 3, 2007, consistent efforts were made by the President's camp for revival of good working relationships between CJP and President as well as to pressurise the apex judiciary to get the desired decisions on important national issues but he (Iftikhar Chaudhry) refused to compromise on independence of judiciary. He said the decision against government in the case of privatisation of Steel Mills became the bone of contention in 2006. He added that after that decision then prime minister Shaukat Aziz conveyed him a message that President Musharraf was much annoyed over the decision. The deposed CJ said some people thought that by imposing November 3 emergency, the questions about the authenticity of general elections could also be raised but as a matter of fact, the imposition of emergency had no link with the national elections, as they were to be held in any case after completion of five years tenure. Chaudhry disclosed that four crucial cases were under hearing in the Supreme Court at that time. One was about the return of exiled leadership, other was Benazir Bhutto's petition about including the names of some three million people into the voters' list, while the other two were about keeping dual offices by president Musharraf and his candidature in uniform. He added that Musharraf desired to get decisions in favour of government in all these cases. He said some of his close friends informed him on November 3, 2007 morning that emergency would be imposed and Justice Dogar would take oath as next chief justice. He after consultation with other SC judges issued a restrain order on the same date in which he forbade president, prime minister, governors and chief ministers to avoid any illegal steps. Addressing on the occasion, President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ali Ahmed Kurd while dispelling the impression that lawyers' movement is losing its vigour asserted that lawyers would confront anything in their way to achieve the goal of unconditional restoration of deposed judges prior to November 3 position. In his typical aggressive style, Kurd said the results of recently held SCBA elections had made it clear to the democratically elected government that legal fraternity was stead fast in its resolve to bring its struggle to a logical end. "It is rather unfortunate that the democratic forces are reluctant to bring unconstitutionally removed judges back," Kurd lamented. Former SCBA president Aitzaz Ahsan said it was only independent judiciary and the rule of law that could ensure economic growth and decrease prevalent terrorism. Expressing logic in the demand of restoration of deposed judges, he said free judiciary could safeguard the interests of investors and availability of justice could mitigate the degree of extremism presently prevailing in the society. The slogans and poetry of Lahore High Court Bar Association Finance Secretary Syeda Feroza Rubab created a passion among the participants and they chanted slogans in favour of deposed CJ and against the rulers. The slogan that was chanted mostly by enraged lawyers and other participants was "Go Zardari Go". Some office bearers and lawyers of Kabirwala, district Khanewal, arrived with "Kafun Posh" convoy. Besides others, Munir A Malik, Justice (Retd) Tariq Mehmood, Islamabad Bar Association President Haroon Rasheed, Lahore High Court Bar Association President Sardar Asmatullah Khan, Secretary General Malik Siddique Awan, District Bar Association President Sardar Tariq Masood Khan, Secretary General Sajid Tanwali, all other prominent lawyers of twin cities and office bearers and lawyers of different Bar Association from all over the country were also present on this occasion. The convention was also attended by Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, PML-N MNAs Malik Abrar Ahmed, Anjum Aqeel Khan, Hanif Abbasi, Haji Pervez Khan, MPAs Chaudhry Sarfraz Afzal, Ziaullah Shah, Shehryar Riaz, Malik Yasir Raza, Chaudhry Muhammad Ayaz, Raja Muhammad Hanif along with hundreds of PML-N workers, office bearers and members of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Jammat-e-Islami (JI), Khaksaar Tehrik, Sunni Tehrik, traders' unions, members of civil society, students, labourers and people belonging to different walks of life. The PML-N workers were carrying party flags, portraits of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, banners, posters, stickers and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of deposed CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and against the PPP-led government. Later, the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry went back to Islamabad with a big rally of participants. The rally while passing through Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Road was accorded warm welcome as PML-N workers and members of civil society had established welcome camps at many places. The people standing on the both sides of the road and the activists participating in the rally were raising slogans "Chief Justice Ko Bahal Kero", "Adliya Ko Azad Kero", "Chief Tere Janisar, Beshumar Beshumar", "Zinda Hain Wukla Zinda Hain", "Kurd, Aitzaz, Munir, Justice Tariq or Chief Ke Wukla Zinda Hain" and "Her Mehroom Tabqay Ki Ik Hi Awaz, Iftikhar Iftikhar". The DBA premises, roads and streets of the city, specially Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Road were fully decorated with portraits, banners, and stickers of deposed CJ. Tight security arrangements were made on the occasion and heavy contingents of police, both in uniform and in civvies, were deployed around and inside the District Courts and all over the city. Agencies add: Justice Iftikhar said former president Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency on Nov 3, 2007 as he feared the Supreme Court would rule against him contesting polls in uniform after the judiciary spurned his efforts to influence it. He said Gen Musharraf had sacked him after his (Musharraf) failure to get some of the decisions pronounced in his favour from the Apex Court, adding he even received threats for refusing to reach a compromise with the then rulers. As the lawyers shouted slogans like "Go Zardari Go", Justice Iftikhar said the people of Pakistan had declared "enough is enough" and wanted the supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law and an independent judiciary. Last year's emergency was actually "martial law" and was different from similar measures adopted by dictators in the past as it targeted only the media and judiciary, he stressed. He said the foundation for the emergency was laid much earlier. The regime led by Musharraf and former premier Shaukat Aziz became upset when the apex court ruled against the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills and took up the cases of political exile of political leaders Nawaz Sharif and late Benazir Bhutto, he said. A petition seeking a bar on Musharraf holding the two offices of Army Chief and President and another seeking his disqualification in presidential polls for contesting while still in uniform also caused unease in the regime, he underlined. Justice Iftikhar said messages were conveyed to him by interlocutors acting on behalf of Musharraf that matters were in his hands and he could decide in Musharraf's favour if he wanted as such a move was "important for the country". He added: "I thought this was a very surprising demand." He said the media highlighted the verdict of Pakistan Steel Mills in a positive manner due to which the credibility of the Supreme Court was restored. "Whatever happened to me in the Army House is nothing new for people," he said. Justice Iftikhar said the Supreme Court gave its verdict on July 20, 2007 after which all government's hopes attached to the top court faded away. He further said Musharraf made several attempts to meet him which continued from July 20 to November 3, 2007. During this period, he added, four important cases were admitted to the Supreme Court, including return of exiled leaders, voters' lists case filed by slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, President's case and fourth case was about his uniform. Addressing the convention, Supreme Court Bar Association President Ali Ahmed Kurd said, "We want graceful restoration of all deposed judges on their November 2, 2007 position." He said November 3 was the darkest day in country's history not just for lawyers but also for former president Pervez Musharraf also. Kurd said the Assembly was indebted to the lawyers' movement and asked the parliamentarians to raise their voice for an independent judiciary. Speaking at the convention, Supreme Court Bar Association former president and key leader of lawyers' movement, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan has reaffirmed that Ali Ahmad Kurd is now the commander of the lawyers' campaign and that he is one of his soldiers, reports a private TV channel. Ch Aitzaz said for the free judiciary there was no constitutional package or Farooq Naek formula; instead the judiciary gets free with the judges taking independent postures. He disclosed that the New York Bar, the world's largest Bar Association, would be giving honorary membership to Justice Iftikhar on Nov 17.