The Sindh High Court on Tuesday rescheduled the hearing of a case of a detained lawyer from the Ahmadiyya community to May 22 due to the security situation that unfolded at the court premises during yesterday’s proceedings.

The arrest of a senior lawyer from the community on April 27 in Karachi, following a complaint by another lawyer alleging the use of “Syed” in his name, led to this development. It marked the second time Advocate Ali Ahmed Tariq faced similar charges since November last year.

In a written order obtained by Dawn.com, the judge criticised the aggressive behaviour displayed by fellow lawyers and called for strict action against those responsible from the Sindh Bar Council, SHC Bar Association, Karachi Bar Association, and Malir Bar Association. The order expressed shame that such individuals were allowed to use the title “advocate” next to their names, calling their conduct a disgrace to the legal profession.

While the court exercised restraint to protect lawyers, court staff, and property, it emphasised that the belligerence exhibited by some advocates would not hinder the case’s fair adjudication on its merits. The written order cited a lawyer named Akbar Jatoi’s physical abuse toward the applicant’s counsel and noted that CCTV footage would reveal the unacceptable behaviour of the advocates.

Justice Sial also requested the SHC chief justice to ensure appropriate security measures for every hearing of this case to safeguard the respect and dignity of the courts against unscrupulous individuals masquerading as advocates.

The order concluded by stating that only two parties and their counsels would be allowed in the courtroom, along with members of the press to facilitate a transparent hearing.

FIR

The first information report (FIR), a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was filed at City Court Police Station and invoked Section 298-B (misuse of epithets, descriptions, and titles, etc, reserved for certain holy personages or places) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

In the FIR, complainant Advocate Mohammed Azhar Khan had stated that during an appearance before a district judge, he observed that Advocate Tariq had used “Syed” with his name in the affidavit while pleading a case.

The complainant had said that Tariq was an Ahmadi who had deliberately affixed “Syed” with his name. He, therefore, requested for a case to be registered against Advocate Tariq.

City Courts Station House Officer (SHO) Adil Khan had told Dawn.com that members of the Ahmadiyya community were not supposed to call themselves Muslims or present themselves as ‘Ahle Bait’ under relevant laws.

He had added that Tariq was booked after he “misrepresented himself” as a “Syed” while submitting his affidavit in the court as a lawyer.

“The police have taken action and arrested the lawyer who would likely be presented before the court on Friday,” SHO Khan had said.

Ahmadiyya Jamaat, through its spokesperson Amir, had also expressed its concerns over the lodging of two identical FIRs at the same police station against the senior lawyer.

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