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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has called for a two-day strike starting from Wednesday by all bar associations across the country against a decision to open a complaint cell in every district to deal with complaints related to unregistered FIRs and police failure to fulfil their functions and duties.

On March 11, the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) had asked for opening of a complaint cell with the superintendent police (complaints) in every district of the country under Sections 22A and 22B of the Criminal Procedure Code. Earlier, this supervisory role vested with the ‘justice of peace/sessions judge’.

The PBC at a meeting presided over by its vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah here on Tuesday considered the situation arising out of the unrest among the legal fraternity on account of the NJPMC decision and demanded the restoration of the previous practice of entertainment of applications by the justice of peace.

It was explained during the meeting that after the decision, instead of direct entertainment of applications by the police officials concerned, aggrieved persons would have to approach and appear before the SP.

The PBC believed the decision would further expand the powers of police which would not only leave the aggrieved persons at their mercy but also open another avenue of malpractice.

The meeting recalled that soon after the NJPMC decision the legal fraternity unanimously called for its withdrawal.

The meeting also recalled that the demands of the bar in respect of determining the parameters regarding exercise of powers by the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, effective enforcement of Article 209 for expeditious disposal of references against judges of the superior courts filed with the Supreme Judicial Council and filling of vacancies of judges in the superior as well as subordinate courts had not been given due consideration.

After lengthy deliberations and endorsing different resolutions, the PBC decided to hold lawyers’ conventions in the provincial and federal capitals on the dates to be announced later. The council called for filling the vacancies of judges lying vacant in the superior and lower courts to help dispose of backlog of cases.

The meeting condemned the act of a judge of the accountability court who had filed a complaint against Karachi Bar Association president Naeem Qureshi in the Sindh High Court only for the reason that Mr Qureshi was persuading members of the bar to observing strike on its call.

It said that obstructing office-bearers and elected representatives of the bar from discharging their responsibilities allegedly at the hands of the judiciary was highly deplorable and requested the SHC chief justice to recall his directives for filing the FIR against Mr Qureshi.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2019