February 16th, 2021 

By Staff Reporter 


Two joint investigations teams have been constituted to probe the ransacking of the Islamabad High Court premises as bar councils assured Chief Justice Athar Minallah that action will be taken against the lawyers involved in the February 8 incident.

In a hearing on 15th February over the ransacking, the IHC Chief Justice expressed displeasure over the incident and called for lawyers involved in the attack to be given exemplary punishment. Turning down IHC Bar Association Secretary Sohail Akbar Chaudhry’s request for a judicial commission, Justice Minallah remarked that culprits are known to everyone. “The bar should identify those who were involved in the attack so that no one else is harassed,” he stressed. The judge further stated that all those involved in the attack were lawyers of the bar, saying “I know half of them”. He observed that those who held the judges hostage for five hours have committed a grave crime. “It is a serious incident and those involved should be punished,” he added.

Justice Minallah said the integrity of the bar is at stake because of the wrongdoing of some 100 people. He remarked that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has reported that the lawyers and the bar are not cooperating in resolving the case. The judge then asked what the state would have done had the protesters belonged to a political party.  “When I was made hostage, I was ready for the worst,” Justice Minallah recalled, adding, “I saw the bar’s president and the secretary helpless during the incident!” He maintained that there will be no compromise or “ifs and buts” while the law will take its course. He expressed concern over the fact that lawyers also assaulted media workers and got hold of their footage. “The attackers had planned to go on a rampage and they even deleted the videos of the incident,” he noted.

JITs begins probe

According to the notifications from the Islamabad chief commissioner, the JITs comprises representatives of Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, SSP (Investigation), Counter-Terrorism Department SSP, Saddar SP, SDPO and Margalla police SHO. The notifications stated that the investigation teams will also seek help from the IHC Bar and the Islamabad District Bar, adding that the JITs will probe the matter at Margalla and Ramna police stations.
9 lawyers impriosned in Adiala jail

According to bar representatives, 50 lawyers have been named in the FIRs registered witth Margalla and Ramna police stations. Speaking to Voicepk.net, IHCBA President Chaudhry Haseeb Mohammad said the IHCBA condemned the incident and supported action against lawyers responsible for the vandalism. He said 11 lawyers had been arrested in the case but two were released after being found innocent. The rest nine lawyers were in Adiala Jail on judicial custody, he added. The IHCBA president said the court had told police not to harass families of lawyers and not to arrest those who had nothing to do with the cases.

Bar Councils assure CJ of action against lawyers

The Pakistan and Islamabad bar councils have assured the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court that all possible action will be taken against lawyers involved in the ransacking of the high court premises on February 8.

Responding to the IHC CJ’s letter for action against accused lawyers, Khush Dil Khan, vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council said the council would like that the responsible and guilty lawyers should be taken to task for giving them exemplary punishment under the law, adding that the disciplinary committees and tribunals of the Pakistan and Provincial/JCT bar councils, headed by the judges of the superior courts, will take severe action against those found guilty and responsible if the matter is referred to them.

“We will, however, go to the maximum extent to purge the legal profession of irresponsible and undesirable elements responsible to earn bad name for legal profession by resorting to indiscipline and unethical pursuits of damaging the dignity, prestige and respect of our proud judiciary and to lower down the noble profession of the lawyers, ” Khush Dil Khan said.

In his response, Zulfiqar Ali Abbasi, vice chairman of the Islamabad Bar Council, said the bar council did not support the vandalism, adding that action against the delinquents could only be meaningfully concluded after meeting the requirements of the said Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973. Under the Act, the tribunal can revoke and suspend license of a lawyer found guilty of misconduct.