FAISALABAD: Local lawyers observed a full-day strike on the call of the district bar association here on Wednesday to back their colleague who had injured a civil judge by hitting him with a wooden chair during proceedings of a case in Jaranwala.

Though the local bar had distanced itself from the violent lawyer immediately after the ugly incident on April 25 at Jaranwala, the district bar gave a call for full-day strike in support of the lawyer, Imran Munj.

According to bar officials, the strike was observed against registration of a case against the lawyer under Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act and 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which they said was unjustified.

In a message to the media on Tuesday night, the bar secretary said, “DBA-FSD strongly condemn (the case) and announces strike on 15th May in Faisalabad division against ‘illegal and unwarranted’ trial of Imran Munj advocate of Jaranwala in ATC Court Faisalabad. We demand a fair and transparent trial and also demand deletion of 7-ATA, 324/PPC and other irrelevant sections (in the FIR).”

Police registered a case against the suspect under section 7-ATA, and 186, 189, 228, 324, 353 and 427 of the PPC on the complaint of Mohammad Nawaz, the reader of the injured judge.

On April 24 last, the complainant said, the suspect had been pressurizing the judge for giving a decision in favour of his father, Mohammad Anwar. The case titled -- Ayub Khan vs Anwar -- had been pending with the judge, he added. He said the judge had adjourned the case and started the proceeding of the next case, but Munj did not leave the court.

After a few minutes, the complainant said, the suspect hit the judge with a chair and also damaged his table’s glass top. The reader said the lawyer also hurled life threats at the judge, tried to hit him again and finally fled the scene.

The Punjab Bar Council had supended the licence of the suspect.

The judges of Jaranwala went on strike for two consecutive days in protest against the incident, demanding arrest of the suspect. The judges strike caused problems for the the litigants whose cases were fixed for other dates.

Sources said that because of the lawyers pressure the police officers had barred their subordinates from conducting raids for the arrest of the suspect.

On the other hand, to satisfy judges, a seven-member team of police officials headed by the then SSP (operations), Ismail Kharak, had been formed to arrest the suspect. The sources said the committee was just a measure to avoid wrath of the judiciary.

They said under an agreement, the Jaranwala bar office-bearers produced the suspect before a senior police officer and he was finally produced before an anti-terrorism court (ATC). In a similar incident, a few months ago, a lawyer, Liaquat Javed, had attacked Faisalabad Deputy Commissioner Saifullah Dogar when he was presiding over a meeting at his office. No action had been taken against the attacker.

In another incident a couple of days ago, a lawyer, along with his sons was booked on charges of thrashing another lawyer, Mohammad Hussain, on the district bar premises and resorting to aerial firing. Despite the rejection of their pre-arrest bails by a court, the police could not arrest the suspects.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2019