Report: Muhammad Sajjad Munir
Islamabad: A joint press briefing was organized by Lahore High Court Bar Association on 18-02-2021. Officials of Pakistan Bar Council, Supreme Court Bar Association, Punjab Bar Council, Lahore High Court Bar Association and Lahore Bar Association were present on the occasion. The participants said that the incident in Islamabad was very unfortunate and painful for the legal community but the lawyers were being blamed without revealing the real facts. At the time of establishment of the Islamabad High Court, no building was available for the High Court. Due to which the newly constructed district complex was allotted to the High Court.
The District Courts, however, were forced to remain in the F / 8 Center due to unavailability of its building. There were no facilities not only for lawyers but also for public. With the passage of time, there have been some constructions to facilitate lawyers’ chambers and public. Even before the current incident, the administration objected to the construction of only three chambers and decided to demolish them, but without any notice, more than 63 lawyers’ chambers were demolished in the dark night. Valuable documents of lawyers and their signatories as well as other belongings were destroyed. Protesting against this state terrorism, the lawyers went to the Islamabad High Court to record their protest and some passionate lawyers crossed the line of legal protest.
The lawyers leaders said that based on this incident, the entire legal community was targeted and particularly, Islamabad administration crossed the limits by registering terrorism cases against the lawyers. Many innocent lawyers were also arrested without justification, while some senior lawyers were discharged on the grounds that they had been arrested by mistake. Top lawyers’ organizations reached out not only to the Chief Justice of Pakistan but also to the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court for positive talks, but no meaningful response was forthcoming. Some clandestine hands want to take this confrontation between the lawyers and the judiciary to the point of no return which is not in the national interest at all.
The lawyers leaders have demanded the Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a committee comprising representatives of the bar and the bench to resolve the issue and submit a detailed report on the matter. In the meantime, not only the arrest and raids of lawyers should be stopped but also the arrested lawyers should be released on bail. The lawyers’ leaders feared that if the issue was not resolved immediately, the fire would spread across the country and things would get worse instead of better. The lawyers leaders appealed to the legal community to remain peaceful and reiterated that if our demands were not heeded, a nationwide protest would be launched to show solidarity with the lawyers of Islamabad.
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