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26th-May-2014

There should not be Awami or BNP lawyers – lawyers are lawyers, united and together

By MAINUL HOSEIN

The lawyers have made their position weak and vulnerable not only for them but also for the cause of the rule of law and democracy. They have also lost their respect as lawyers by not maintaining their power and position of unity as lawyers. Only place where they can show that for their own professional causes they are one and united is the court premises. When the lawyers carry their party political colour to a place which is the exclusive sanctum of the lawyers, the court premises and when they allow themselves to be seen in court premises with their divided political identities for divided party politics, it is no help to claim special honourable position as lawyers. That is what happened when the police had foiled yet another indoor program arranged by pro-opposition lawyer's forum on Saturday. The program was arranged by Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum on the Supreme Court premises which the BNP Chairperson, Khaleda Zia, was scheduled to address as chief guest. According to the press reports the Supreme Court premises turned into a garrison like area when the police stopped lawyers entering the Supreme Court premises by blocking all entrances with barbed-wire fences and locking up the gates.  The lawyers' forum had called for a boycott of court for half a day on Sunday. They stopped the fellow lawyers from doing their professional duty to their clients and the court. It is for their political party loyalty, the police found courage to treat them as party workers. They also knew there were other party lawyers would not oppose police action against their anti-party lawyers. It will be also of no help to talk about their freedom of association and free speech to be respected. They were not treated as lawyers. Earlier the BNP-backed lawyers' forum on May 18 announced that they would hold the rally on the Supreme Court premises in protest against the murder of lawyer Chandan Sarker in Narayanganj and other murders, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killing. On Friday night, the police pulled down the stage the lawyers erected in the Supreme Court Bar Association ground for the rally, cut off power connections and took away the chairs, witnesses said. Police allegedly attacked the lawyers at least five times between Friday night and Saturday morning. It is no doubt sad. But the cause is their creation - because of the divisions among the lawyers  the police treated them as party workers of BNP. We do not support the highhandedness of the government in using police power against the lawyers. They are so indispensable for democracy and justice that the whole nation want to see them guiding national politics and not obliging sick party politics.   The situation of the country would be different if the lawyers could show their independence and solidarity as lawyers. The profession of law is such an independent profession of honour that there cannot be Awami lawyers wing or BNP lawyers wing. As politicians they are free to assume any party identity, but as lawyers they have only one identity - they are all lawyers.  As party activists they are no different from others party activists, but as lawyers they are much above others.