KARACHI - "The people of Pakistan on February 18 had given mandate to the political parties over the judges' issue as they were aware that an independent judiciary was more important than Roti, Kapra aur Makan", said deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry while addressing via telephone to a joint meeting of Karachi Bar Association (KBA), Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and Malir Bar Association at Shuhda-e-Punjab Hall city court here on Thursday. A large numbers of lawyers, political and civil society activists belonging to Labour Party, National Workers Union, Shabab Milli Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Jamat-e-Islami attended the meeting. The deposed CJP, without naming PML-N, praised its stance saying that in the entire history of Pakistan no other party had sacrificed ministries in favour of the independence of judiciary. "I must appreciate that such a big sacrifice was never made in the past," he said and added that "We value this act and we understand that this would be a milestone for the country to reach its destiny." He applauded the support of media saying that lawyers and civil society had created awareness among the people regarding the independence of judiciary. "Military dictators bulldozed the political governments in Pakistan, abrogated constitution to strengthen their unconstitutional rule but for the first time, 60 judges refused to surrender to the whims of a despot and didn't take oath under the PCO for the cause of judiciary and democracy" Iftikhar added. Condemning the PCO judges he said "the judges who had taken oath under PCO, committed unpardonable crime and they are culprits of upcoming generation". He also applauded the commitment of deposed judges who continuously refused to surrender to a military dictator and made themselves icons for the nation. He said the establishment had used different tactics to shatter the unity of deposed judges but they successfully foiled such tactics. The CJP warned the establishment against further delay in the reinstatement of judges saying that otherwise masses would launch a massive movement to attain this goal. "The people are losing temperament and demanding restoration of the November-02 judiciary as the lawyers' movement has entered the final phase and people are not ready to compromise with the establishment", he said. Iftikhar said that lawyers' struggle is now the struggle of whole nation and if independent judiciary was not restored it would prove disastrous for the country. He said that freedom of judiciary was necessary for the rule of law and constitution. He also paid rich tributes to the lawyers of Karachi especially those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom of judiciary and said that they had faced various difficulties to run the ongoing struggle but showed great commitment and continued their movement which would always be remembered in the history of Pakistan. Earlier, addressing the meeting deposed Chief Justice Sindh Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed said the country needs a sovereign Parliament and this aim could only be achieved through an independent judiciary. He added that restoration of deposed judges was necessary for the freedom of judiciary. "As far as our principled stand is concerned, the judges are committed to their cause regarding rule of law and judiciary" he said adding that "deposed judges were asked for the restoration of High Court judges and we partially accepted but when they put option of reinstatement we strongly refused as it would be tantamount to indemnify the November-03 acts of Pervez Musharraf. President Karachi Bar Mehmoodul Hassan said that the President House was hatching conspiracies against the lawyers' movement but the legal fraternity would foil all such plans through unity. President SHCBA Rashid Rizvi said that lawyers would not only organise long march but also stage sit-in in front of the Parliament House till the restoration of judges. General Secretary KBA Naeem Qureshi, Salahuddin Gandapur, President Malir Bar Association Ammanullah Yousafzai and others also addressed the meeting. Later, the lawyers, activists of civil society and political parties took out a rally from City Court and staged a protest demonstration at the Karachi Press Club.