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LAHORE: Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan has condemned lawyers’ hooliganism and taking the Faisalabad deputy commission hostage in his office, pledging a strong action will be taken against those involved in the incident.

Speaking at a news conference here on Wednesday, Mr Chohan said the lawyers ransacked public property in the sessions court, forcibly entered deputy commissioner’s office and disrupted a meeting.

The lawyers demanding the creation of a Lahore High Court bench in Faisalabad also boycotted the courts’ proceedings and locked the sessions court’s main entrance.

The information minister said the violent lawyers would be identified through video footage and taken to task.

Urging the Supreme Court chief justice to take notice of the incident and order cancellation of violent lawyers’ licences, he said the demand for the bench was meant for the LHC chief justice and not the government.

Chiding former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Asif Ali Zardari for their alleged corruption and money laundering, he said they were partners in crime and there was nothing startling if they had decided to go hand-in-hand in Senate by-election. He, however, predicted victory for the two PTI candidates.

He alleged that around Rs100 billion were annually laundered abroad by both the PPP and the PML-N leaders and they always took Iqama shelter. “The PPP and PML-N leaders used Iqama for money laundering,” he alleged and added the state institutions were taking action.

Answering a question, he said the state institutions were free to investigate prime minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan for her properties abroad and added that she never held any government office.

In response to the anti-PTI tirade by the PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan in the Senate, Mr Chohan challenged the opposition party senior leader to hold a live debate on any news channel and he would prove him corrupt.

Responding to the PPP’s criticism against Imran Khan and PTI government, Mr Chohan said the Sindh chief minister had given postings to 25 government officers who were held in corruption cases and were released after plea bargain with the NAB.

Regarding former PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen’s presence in official meetings, he said that Mr Tareen could sit in the meetings as a party worker.

About Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s leaked conversation, he said the news channels violated Pemra rules by airing the video.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018