KARACHI: Representatives of the legal fraternity have said that the continuous closure of civil and constitutional work at courts was causing hardship to litigants and lawyers and asked the chief justice of Pakistan to order reopening of courts with the adoption of relevant standard operating procedures.

The Sindh Bar Council in a statement said it had arranged a consultation meeting to consider the issue of suspension of civil and constitutional work at courts with effect from March 22 due to Covid-19.

Besides the SBC, representatives of the Pakistan Bar Council, Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi Bar Association and Malir Bar Association also attended the meeting.

It further said that the meeting had appreciated the role of the federal and provincial governments as well as the high courts in fight against the pandemic, but after lifting the lockdown and imposition of ‘smart’ lockdowns there appeared no reason for the suspension of court work since the closure of courts for all except very urgent work has had serious repercussions for litigants and lawyers.

They unanimously resolved to raise the demand before the chief justice of Pakistan, the chief justice of the Sindh High Court and members of the SHC administrative committee to initiate steps for reopening courts with the adoption of appropriate SOPs to protect and save litigants, lawyers and members of the judiciary from the pandemic and to restore the right to access to justice, it concluded.

Man gets 14 years jail

An antiterrorism court on Thursday sentenced a suspected militant to 14 years imprisonment in an explosive substances case.

The ATC-VII found Mohammad Ishaq, alias Gul Khan, guilty of carrying explosives and a suicide jacket when he was arrested near the Cantonment railway station after his arrival from Sukkur in April 2019.

The prosecution said the accused was affiliated with the banned militant outfit Jundullah and was a wanted terrorist in the red book of the Counter Terrorism Department.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2020