LAHORE: A heavy contingent of the anti-riot police on Monday took charge of the security in the Lahore High Court (LHC) as the legal fraternity continued its protest against the conviction of a member of the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) on a contempt charge.

LHC senior puisne judge Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan had on Dec 2 sentenced Advocate Rana Muhammad Asif for obstructing the proceedings of his court.

On the call of the PbBC, the lawyers gathered on the LHC premises to lodge their protest against the conviction of their colleague. Aggressive protesters tried to enter the chief justice block, however, the riot police closed the iron-grill door restricting the entry of the protesters.

The lawyers chanted slogans against the judges and demanded withdrawal of the sentence to Advocate Asif. They also observed a partial boycott of the courts’ proceedings.

The PbBC announced that it would continue the protest on Tuesday (today) across the province.

The bar had already announced a complete boycott of Justice Khan’s court till the withdrawal of the conviction of the lawyer. It also called for a social boycott of the judge.

On the day of the incident, Advocate Asif was wearing his black gown, an essential part of the uniform for judges and lawyers during winter, inside the courtroom when Justice Khan told the lawyer that he should have worn the gown before entering the courtroom.

Offended, the lawyer responded to the judge in harsh words.

The judge ordered his security staff to take the lawyer in custody and also issued him a show-cause notice under contempt charge. However, the lawyer was rescued by his colleagues who took him outside the court while the judge had already retired to his chamber.

Justice Khan issued warrants for the arrest of the lawyer observing that the contemnor fled away from the courtroom before the announcement of the order. The judge also suspended the practicing license of the lawyer for six months.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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