On March 17, 40 lawyers and at least 10 others were injured when police attacked a gathering of lawyers at the Lahore High Court called by the Lahore High Court Bar Association to discuss a response to the government's suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. On March 9, President Pervez Musharraf had declared Chaudhry as "non-functional", which was viewed by many as part of an attempt to quell the judiciary. Lawyers have boycotted the courts and organised hunger strikes and other protests demanding Chaudhry's reinstatement. A nationwide lawyers' strike has been called for April 3. The following are excerpts from a March 22 statement by Labour Party Pakistan general secretary Farooq Tariq.
Labour Party Pakistan has postponed its scheduled March 24-26 congress to join the mass movement against the military regime. LPP will rally on March 26 from Lakshmi Chouck Lahore to Lahore High Court in solidarity with the advocates. Similar rallies will be held on the same day in Karachi, Peshawar, Gilgit, Moro and Multan.
The LPP leadership welcomed the decision of the Alliance of Restoration for the Democracy to launch a nationwide movement against the regime on March 26. LPP will join the rallies of the ARD wherever possible and appeals to the working class in Pakistan to join the movement.
We welcome ARD's decision not to go along with the religious fundamentalists — the MMA, the main alliance of the religious forces that has cooperated with the military regime at every crucial time.
We support the movement of the advocates because they have challenged the writ of the regime in a very effective way. We welcome the decisions of Chaudhry in favour of the working class, but we are not in the movement to make one person a hero; this is a movement to overthrow the military regime. We appeal to the trade unions, radical social organisations and progressive political parties to unite and launch a mass movement against the regime.