February 12th, 2021
By Staff Reporter
In an unprecedented move, the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) wrote a detailed letter, comprising 15 pages, to lawyers’ regulatory bodies demanding internal disciplinary action against the lawyers who were involved in the attack and the consequent ransacking of the judges’ chambers. Copies of the letter have been dispatched to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Islamabad Bar Council (IBC), Islamabad District Bar Association (IDBA), and the barrooms of the Islamabad high court and district court.
The letter penned down by the Chief Justice can broadly be divided into three major categories. In the first half of the letter the judge has reproduced the details of the incident. Stating that on a fateful day the chief justice arrived in the court at 10:15 am in morning. While he was performing his regular duties, the registrar of the court approached him and told him that a mob of about 200 lawyers had formed outside the F-8 markaz (the location of the demolished chambers) and were now marching towards the Islamabad High Court, at which the judge expressed disbelief.
Once the mob of lawyers arrived at the IHC and became destructive, the law enforcement agencies began planning an operation against them but were forbidden from doing so by the CJ.
“I refused (the police operation) because it could have reduced a constitutional court to a battleground and undermined the prestige and sanctity of a hallowed institution where justice was dispensed to all and sundry.” The judge explained that he and other judges present in the court at the time were entrapped by the mob for some 4 hours.
In the second half of the letter, the judge has clearly identified the senior representatives of the lawyers’ bodies who were leading the mob, explicitly naming Naseer Kiyani, a member of the Islamabad Bar Council. The justice expressed serious grief over the presence of such high ranking officials in the unruly mob.
The last 8 pages of the letter comprise of photo evidence of the destruction carried out by the lawyers. The chief justice showcased these pictures as proof of the shameless behavior of the lawyers demanding appropriate internal action against those involved “to uphold the dignity of the profession and restore the confidence of the real stakeholders i.e., the people of Pakistan, in the judicial branch of the State.”
Promising serious legal action against all those who were involved in breaking the law.
Responses of the lawyers’ bodies
Lawyers’ bodies including the Islamabad Bar Council are approaching the issue from a different perspective. For the council, the incident is a clear violation of the rights of young lawyers whose livelihoods were threatened by the actions and who justifiably feel attacked. Senior members of lawyer’s regulatory bodies have justified the actions of the lawyers under this pretext.
Today on February 12, Friday, Islamabad Lawyers’ bodies observed a strike to demand their rights. The lawyers’ body has also called for a rally from the F-8 markaz to the D-chowk in Islamabad tomorrow, on February 13. The lawyers have demanded the release of their colleagues who have been arrested by the police, they have also demanded that no future action be taken against their fellows under the guise of this incident and that the demolished chambers of the young lawyers be reconstructed.
Something fishy, say experts
Senior court reporters in Islamabad have pointed towards a “double game” being played by the Islamabad administration and the capital police. They note that the issue is being exploited by the government to take action against senior lawyers who were not even present at the time of the incident. Claiming that the government wants to use this opportunity to drive a wedge between the bars and bench.
Taking notice of these rumors Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court Athar Minallah took the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Islamabad to task in a hearing today. Asserting that district administration should instantly halt any such activity and present to the court a list of all the lawyers who have been targeted by the raids and undue arrests.