DEPOSED Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry's bold address to the lawyers in Lahore on Saturday, in which he claimed that constitutionally he continued to be the Chief Justice of the country, reflects his will to carry the movement for a free judiciary indefinitely. The reception accorded to him was indeed impressive as crowds of supporters thronged the streets to celebrate his arrival. Contrary to the federal government that accuses him of posing a defiant public stance, the Punjab government gave him the official protocol of the Chief Justice of the country. One must be all ears to his speech, that was marked by concern for the suffering of the poor and the country's current economic crisis. Chief Justice Chaudhry maintained that it would be the common man who would benefit the most from the establishment of a free judiciary. Given the widening class differential prevailing in society and the concentration of wealth in a few hands, his call for justice for all with special emphasis on economic justice is what the country badly needs at the moment. However, the pity is that the outlook for such a scenario, coupled with Chief Justice Chaudhry's restoration, remains uncertain. Considering their contribution to democracy - their movement against General Musharraf that led to the formation of the present set-up - the degree of distaste with which the PPP-led government has been viewing the black coats is incomprehensible. The grave challenges Pakistan is facing should have brought home to the authorities that resolving this issue was urgently called for. It would be fallacious to assume that the two-year-long struggle for the restoration of the judiciary would simply fizzle out. Supreme Court Bar Association President Ali Ahmed Kurd, who rebutted the charge of political involvement, said that the long march on March 9 and the sit-in before Parliament would be landmark events. There is a strong feeling that the turn-out would be massive, as the recent meeting between Mian Shahbaz Sharif and President Zardari did not hold out any hope of reconciliation between the PPP and the PML-N over the issue The onus now lies on the legal fraternity to observe discipline, be it long march or sit-ins. Because of the volatile political and security landscape of the country, the standoff between the legal fraternity and the government is proving to be extremely damaging and ought to be resolved at the earliest. Moreover, a just settlement of this issue would also help rebut the charge that the Zardari government has failed to live up to its commitments before the people and help stem the growing frustration among them.