MULTAN: Although the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice has restored the functioning of the Multan Bench and judges have resumed courts, lawyers, however, continued their strike and did not appear before them and subordinate courts in three divisions on Thursday.

The representatives of various bar associations of south Punjab also announced continuing their strike in a lawyers’ convention where the representatives of the LHC Bahawalpur Bench and the secretary-general of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) were also present.

“We’ve decided to continue strike till Justice Qasim Khan is banned from working at the Multan Bench, action against the LHC chief justice is taken, an independent high court is established for Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal and Multan divisions and contempt notices issued to the lawyers are withdrawn,” said Multan Bar Association secretary Syed Anees Mehdi.

The strike stemmed from an incident that took place on July 24 when Justice Qasim Khan left the courtroom after, what the LHC handout says, the lawyers obstructed judicial proceedings of his court and afterwards vandalised the court premises and ripped off the name plate of the judge.

Lawyers say the judge’s conduct with them was not appropriate.

The chief justice took notice of the issue, withdrew judges from the Multan bench and initiated contempt hearing against High Court Bar Association-Multan (HCBA-Multan) President Sher Zaman Qureshi and another lawyer Syed Qaiser Abbas Kazmi

Mr Mehdi said that it was also decided that no lawyer would appear in the hearing of the contempt case on July 31.

The convention also decided to observe token strike on every Friday for the creation of a separate province and a high court for Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal divisions.

The resolutions were presented by the HCBA-Multan President Mr Qureshi. He said contempt notice had been issued to him for standing by lawyers. He said the institutions should not be run like textile mills.

“The chief justice of Pakistan should initiate an inquiry into the contract of computerisation of high court record while all the references pending with the Supreme Judicial Council should be decided without any delay,” he said.SCBA Secretary Aftab Ahmad Bajwa said that lawyers were being defamed by the institutions. He said closing the courts and issuing contempt notice to the high court bar president were not appropriate acts.

He said the SCBA would itself deal with the the contempt matter.

“We will not hesitate to lock higher courts if any action is taken against any lawyer,” he warned.HCBA-Multan office bearer Sahibzada Nadim Farid said both the bar and the bench would only earned respect from others only if they respected each other.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2017

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