LAHORE: Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar on Saturday said it was unbecoming of lawyers to engage in vandalism and participate in lockdowns, creating obstacles in the administration of justice.

Addressing the Punjab Bar Council (PBC), the minister also condemned the killing of two senior lawyers on the premises of Attock district courts, saying the government would take it as a test case.

He quoted Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif as saying that the legal fraternity’s protection was the government’s responsibility and that she ordered police to ensure justice in the case.

He said the provincial government had allocated Rs1 billion for lawyers’ associations.

Committee formed to supervise probe into lawyers’ killing in Attock

Besides, on the CM’s instructions, special measures were being taken to support female lawyers by establishing daycare centres and cafeterias for them at district and tehsil levels.

Referring to recent clashes between protesting lawyers and security personnel, the federal minister said it was distressing to note the treatment meted out to Lahore Bar Association members.

Mr Tarar said he immediately contacted the chief minister who declared that lawyers were not terrorists but rather custodians of the law, and that protesting for their rights was not terrorism.

Subsequently, all arrested lawyers were released, and it was decided that the CM would instruct relevant departments to stop filing terrorism charges against protesting lawyers, he added.

However, he asserted that lawyers must also practise self-accountability and acknowledge the difficulties they face.

“When you wear the black coat and take an oath to work under the Constitution, it is unbecoming to engage in vandalism or lockdowns and create obstacles in the way of justice,” the minister said.

When a lawyer commits wrongdoing, the bar association in collaboration with the government should act against him, the minister said, adding that otherwise, this practice would never stop, he believed.

Later, PBC in a statement demanded that the government bring the police official involved in the killing of lawyers to justice and ensure punishment under the Lawyers’ Protection Act.

The statement said CM Maryam formed a high-level committee of lawyers’ representatives, including Pakis­tan Bar Council’s Hassan Raza Pasha, Punjab Bar Council’s Basharatullah Khan, Lahore High Court Bar Association Rawalpindi President Malik Jawad Khalid and Attock Bar Association President Rizwana Raja.

The statement said the law minister will personally supervise the police investigation into the lawyers’ murder.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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