Legal bodies across the nation are calling for the ‘immediate release’ of those arrested lawyers.
The lawyers are responding to a strike call from the Pakistan Bar Council. According to a notification issued by the Pakistan Bar Council, the protest was “against partial and biased conduct of the local police and the administration of Lahore against the lawyers as well as action taken by the Islamabad High Court against the Secretary-General, Islamabad High Court Bar Association.”
According to the lawyers’ joint action committee that was formed regarding this matter, the lawyers will no be appearing in court today. They further claimed that the arrested lawyers are being tortured and went on to demand their release.
A variety of different local bar associations have also given calls to strike today.
On Wednesday, a group of lawyers’ staged a violent riot against doctors at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology with the apparent aim to avenge fellow lawyers who had been physically abused at the PIC a few weeks prior according to leaked video clips that went viral on social media. The altercation outside of the hospital quickly turned violent and resulted in the death of three people while the conditions of certain patients became critical following an attack inside the hospital. Lawyers were able to enter the hospital premises, causing doctors to leave their patients and breaking windows and equipment in the tussle.
Following this attack, 81 protestors were arrested by police. Yesterday, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore sent over 46 of them on judicial remand while at the same time rejecting requests from the police to for their physical remand to investigate charges of attacks at PIC.
The Shadman police had lodged two FIRs against some 200-250 lawyers, this included Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The Vice chairman of the PBC, Amjad Shah, explained in a statement that that the local administration had arrested a large number of advocates including those who were absent for the attack, in addition to registering FIRs against them.
During a press conference in Lahore, former Supreme Court Bar Association president Hamid Khan spoke out against the incident at the PIC by saying it was, “nothing short of a national tragedy”.
He further explained that lawyers’ purpose was not to hurt anyone and added, “It is perhaps not right to put all the blame for the incident on the lawyers.”
Additionally, he explained that the government had left the matter regarding the lawyers and doctors pending for many days.
He said, “Because of its neglect, the government [let] the matter escalate,”
Moreover, Khan also claimed that a “secret hand” which intended on “ruining the system and deteriorating the conditions” was behind the incident.
“Some powers want to destroy the legal community and bring dictatorship in the country,” the SCBA member said, adding that lawyers do not have any animosity with doctors.
“Those who escalated this matter should be exposed.”
Khan condemned the humiliation caused to lawyers by presenting them in the anti-terrorism court and the action taken against the Islamabad High Court Bar Association secretary-general. He called for the immediate release of all arrested lawyers.
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