PESHAWAR: The lawyers on Monday boycotted courts against the issuance of a contempt notice to the vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, Syed Amjad Shah, by the Peshawar High Court.

The boycott was carried out on the call of the PBC, which, in the All Pakistan Lawyers Convention held in Karachi on Aug 24, had condemned the issuance of the said notice to its vice-chairman and had called for the complete boycott of courts on Monday.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council and Peshawar High Court Bar Association had endorsed that decision.

Most lawyers stayed away from different courts thought litigants from across the province, whose cases were fixed for Monday, showed up.

Few days ago, a notice was issued to the PBC

vice-chairman through the additional registrar of the high court asking him to appear in person on Aug 30 before Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth regarding certain allegations he had made in an internet interview on Jul 20.

He had given that interview to a journalist of Islamabad regarding certain recommendations made by the Judicial Commission for Appointment of Judges for filling vacancies of judges in the Peshawar High Court.

“This court honours and acknowledges the fundamental right to speech and expression cited in Article 19 of the Constitution but some portion of the interview appears to deviate from this right and appears to inflict contempt,” the notice said.

It added that the vice-chairman had made contemptuous and derogatory statements against the PHC chief justice.

Meanwhile, a group of lawyers led by senior advocate of Supreme Court Abdul Sattar Khan opposed the PBC’s decision saying nobody is above the law.

The group first held a meeting in the barroom at the Judicial Complex and later held a rally. They went to the high court after marching through the Judicial Complex and shouted slogans against the strike.

Sattar Khan told the meeting that the vice-chairman should appear before the bench and if he had not done anything wrong he would be absolved of the charges.

He said such strikes made poor litigants suffer as they came from faraway places.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2019

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