LHC judge reprimands lawyers for ‘tarnishing image of fraternity’

Updated 14 Dec 2019


Police use tear gas shell to disperse angry lawyers during a clash in Lahore on Wednesday. — AP/File
Police use tear gas shell to disperse angry lawyers during a clash in Lahore on Wednesday. — AP/File

LAHORE: A senior judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday condemned the attack on the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) by a mob of lawyers and observed that the incident brought a bad name to the judiciary as well.

“How did the lawyers even think of attacking a hospital? You left us with no respect. It does not happen even during wars,” said Justice Ali Baqar Najafi with regret to leaders of the lawyers while hearing multiple petitions challenging the cases and arrests of lawyers in the wake of the PIC attack.

“We are hearing these petitions with great pain. We can transfer it forthwith if you say so,” Justice Najafi further reminded the lawyers’ leaders present in court. Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun was the other member on the division bench.

The judge observed that some “black sheep” had been tarnishing the image of the whole legal fraternity and the bar needed to take action against such elements. He went on to say that it seemed the law of jungle was prevailing in the country when lawyers attacked the PIC.

“No society can sustain under the law of jungle,” the judge added.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) member Azam Nazir Tarar said the entire legal fraternity was in deep sorrow and grief over the PIC incident.

Justice Najafi asked Mr Tarar if he could offer a single justification for the attack on the hospital and added that the lawyers should offer a public apology.

Tarar said the lawyers’ leadership condemned the incident in the strongest possible words.

Justice Pannun asked the leader whether any bar council had shown willingness to take action against the responsible lawyers.

Mr Tarar said the bar would take action against the lawyers involved in the attack in addition to suspension of their licences. He said the police tortured the lawyers as if they had gone to war with India. Even if there was chaos in a society, police could not torture any citizen, he added. He also alleged that the arrested lawyers were handed over to Crime Investigation Agency for torture.

However, Justice Najafi observed that apparently the lawyers were the aggressors.

The judge further remarked that arrested lawyers would have to seek bail from the trial court. He adjourned hearing till Dec 16 and sought a reply from the capital city police officer about the cases and arrested lawyers.

Meanwhile, a delegation of lawyers’ leaders, led by PBC member Ahsan Bhoon, visited the PIC with bouquets and met representatives of the Young Doctors Association (YDA). Dr Muhammad Zeeshan and Dr Atif Chaudhry welcomed the delegation.

Talking to the doctors, Mr Bhoon apologised on behalf of the entire lawyers community and called the incident a tragedy. He said both law and medicine were noble professions and their members should not indulge in such activities.

On Friday morning, some bar leaders took a round of the LHC to ensure implementation of the strike when Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi advised them to visit the PIC with bouquets in order to pacify the doctors.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2019