LAHORE - Laying stress on the continuity of democratic process, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has said in its resolution that a neutral caretaker government can guarantee free, fair and transparent elections.

The council adopted the resolution on Thursday at its general house meeting, saying: “The political situation in the country is fast moving towards instability and the only recipe that can salvage this deterioration is to return to the people for a fresh mandate.”

The resolution added: “Political parties should show maturity and prudence in the critical days to come and they should discourage violence. Pakistan needs more democracy rather than derailment of the system. A fresh understanding and common approach for the smooth transfer of civilian rule is crucial now.”

“As a first step, the government and the Opposition must agree to appoint an independent election commissioner who enjoys the confidence of all political forces as well as the electorate,” the resolution read.

“Any obstacles to the conduct of general elections will create chaos and anarchy in the country. All institutions must respect the mandate of each other and this will benefit all civilian authorities and the promotion of stable democracy. The key to the independence of judiciary lies in the neutrality and uprightness of bar associations. This House firmly believes that the bars cannot remain silent on political developments in the country but they must not lend themselves as platforms to any single political party,” it adds.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the role of anchor persons of some TV channels, the meeting said: “We favour the independent media, however, we appeal to chief justice of Pakistan and chief justices of high courts to impress upon the media to place some restrictions on itself on talk shows on pending and subjudice matters.” Later, the PBC announced the council would observe June 28 as “Day of Solidarity with the Judiciary”.

“We are custodians of the judiciary and all bars will organise meetings on June 28 to express solidarity with the judiciary,” PBC Vice Chairman Akhtar Hussain said. “We deprecate the practice of immediate suspension of memberships from the bar associations for any reason except in accordance with law and rules,” said.

He also announced constitution of a lawyers’ national co-ordination committee, comprising PBC vice chairman, vice chairmen of provincial bar councils, president of SCBAP and presidents of high court bar associations, to deal with important matters being faced by the community. Hussain said that no other institution could form parallel lawyers’ co-ordination committee. Speaking on the occasion, Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad said lawyers would stand by the judiciary.