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Lawyers continue strike across KP

PESHAWAR: Lawyers boycotted courts across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the fourth consecutive day to protest what they called the government’s failure to fulfil commitment to reverse the last year’s changes to the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP).

The strike began on Oct 17 on the call of the KP Bar Council, which demands suitable amendments to the law to do away with the ‘controversial’ amendments.

The decision of the strike was jointly taken by KP Bar Council vice-chairman Shahid Raza Malik, executive committee chairman Shahid Riaz Burki and other members. The strike will continue until today (Wednesday). As the lawyers stayed away from high court and district courts, most cases were adjourned.

The bar council announced that if its demand was not accepted by the government, it would evolve the future course of action after five-day strike.

The council said the committee had provided a draft of amendments to the government but the latter had been using delaying tactics to approve it since Jul 15, 2020, showing its non-serious attitude.

It added that a petition filed by the KP Bar Council against the last year’s controversial CCP amendments had been pending with the high court.

Early this year, the bar council had observed strike for 23 days. The strike was called off on Jan 30.

The KP government had enacted the controversial Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act on Oct 15, 2019, declaring that it will come into force at once.

Through the Act, several important changes were made to the colonial era law. The government claimed that the amendments would help provide speedy justice to litigants in cases of civil nature.

A general body of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council had decided on Jan 8 to start an indefinite strike against those amendments.

Later, the lawyers and government representatives held talks and decided that the controversial amendments to CCP would be deferred for three months and during that period, the committees of lawyers and government representatives would evolve consensus on amendments to be made to the law.

The government later promulgated the KP Civil Law Amendment Ordinance, 2020, through which enforcement of the amendments to the CCP was deferred until Apr 15, 2020.

The lawyers claims that through amendments to the CCP, one forum of appeal against the judgment by a civil judge was abolished and instead of the district judge, the appeal had to be filed in the high court.

They also said such amendments had not been made by other provinces and therefore, it was a discrimination against the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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