Lawyers’ representatives demand reconstruction of demolished chambers in Islamabad

Published February 21, 2021
This Feb 8 file photo shows lawyers at the debris of their demolished chambers in Islamabad. — Mohammad Asim / White Star
This Feb 8 file photo shows lawyers at the debris of their demolished chambers in Islamabad. — Mohammad Asim / White Star

ISLAMABAD: Representatives of lawyers’ associations on Saturday demanded reconstruction of chambers demolished by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the district administration in an anti-encroachment operation on Feb 8.

The demand came in a joint resolution passed by representatives of Pakistan Bar Council, Supreme Court Bar Association, Islamabad Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council, Sindh Bar Council and Azad Kashmir Bar Council at a lawyers’ convention here.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Latif Afridi did not attend the convention.

According to Raja Aleem Abbasi, member Islamabad Bar Council (IBC), Mr Afridi excused from participating in the convention due to an ailment, but he was represented by Advocate Sheerin Imran.

The lawyers demanded immediate transfer of District and Sessions Judge Islamabad (west) Tahir Khan and constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) to identify those responsible for demolishing the chambers.

Resolution passed at convention seeks withdrawal of CDA’s notification issued to 200 lawyers to vacate chambers built on state land

The resolution sought swift construction of a state-of-the-art lawyers’ complex.

Moreover, they demanded withdrawal of the notification issued by the CDA to the occupants of illegally established chambers and said the lawyers may be allowed to use the chambers until the construction of a complex for them.

Following the Feb 8 anti-encroachment drive, a large number of lawyers stormed into the IHC, attacked the Chief Justice Block and detained him as well as other judges for a couple of hours.

Subsequently, police registered FIRs against 32 lawyers under different sections of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Besides, IHC also started disciplinary proceedings against 21 lawyers.

The resolution of lawyers demanded the IHC stop disciplinary proceedings against the lawyers and quash the FIRs.Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Khushdil Khan told the lawyers that the matter related to the chambers had been discussed with the chief justice of Pakistan.

He said PBC had convened a meeting to review the situation, adding lawyers believed in peaceful struggle and the bar council would continue to support them.

Islamabad High Court Bar Association President Chaudhry Haseeb Mohammad said the issue must be resolved through negotiations as lawyers were avoiding street agitation.

“We want to adopt the legal course and an amicable settlement of the issue,” he said.

Criticising the CDA for issuing notices to about 200 lawyers to vacate the chambers built on state land, he warned that in case the CDA started an operation to demolish all the chambers in the district courts, it would lead to a never ending unrest not only among the lawyers of the federal capital but the entire legal fraternity.

PBC convenes meeting

Meanwhile, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on the requisition of Senator Farooq H. Naek and other members convened a meeting on Feb 23 to discuss the prevailing situation in the federal capital.

A notice issued by the PBC stated: “On the requisition of Mr Farooq H. Naek, Hassan Raza Pasha, Haroonur Rashid, Syed Amjad Shah and Syed Qalb-i-Hassan, the 232nd meeting of the PBC is being held on Tuesday, 23rd Feb, 2021.”

The agenda of the meeting is “Considering the rapidly aggravating situation as a result of demolition of lawyers chambers in district courts, Islamabad on Feb 8, 2021, and subsequent registration of FIRs, issuance of contempt of court notices, by the Hon’ble Islamabad High Court, arrest of advocates and the order dated Feb 16, 2021, passed by Islamabad High Court for demolition of lawyers chambers.”

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2021

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