LAHORE - The National Action Committee jointly formed by the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Lahore High Court Bar Association on Saturday appealed to the Supreme Court to hear the Panama case on a regular basis and suspend Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif until final verdict in this case.

The committee headed by Supreme Court Bar Association President Khurshid A Rizvi also requested the apex court to put the names of all those found guilty by the Joint Investigation Team on the Exit Control List (ECL). The bar leaders said they would run a countrywide protest campaign against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if he does not resign until July 20. They said that lawyers would be on the roads this time.

The bars issued a declaration and vowed to continue their weekly protest rallies every Thursday. The committee said that lawyers being soldiers of the Constitution would continue their struggle for its supremacy and would not allow anyone to attack the Supreme Court as it happened in 1997.

The lawyers’ representatives lauded the JIT members for a fair and independent inquiry into the Panama leaks. However, they criticised the prime minister for sticking to his office. “The is proof of bad governance in the country,” they said, and added that the prime minister was using state institutions for personal gains.

The committee condemned attacks on a bar meeting and convention on May 20 that was convened by the Lahore High Court Bar Association and suspended bar membership of Additional Attorney General Naseer Ahmad Bhutta. It banned entry of law officers to the bar. During the meeting, the committee expressed solidarity with the families of lawyers martyred in Quetta blasts last year and requested the Supreme Court to decide the sou motu case without any delay.

Addressing a press conference at the bar office later, SCBA President Khurshid A Rizvi asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to keep his promise of stepping down. He said that he had promised that he would resign if he is found guilty so now he should resign.

“Many heads of state tendered their resignations over Panama papers, so PM Sharif should also step aside in line with democratic traditions,” said the SCBA president. The bar leader said the PM had no justification to stay in office but his party men were using derogatory remarks against judges of the SC and members of the JIT. He said that lawyers’ conventions would be held in various cities, including Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, to strengthen the anti-prime minister movement.