ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Police in Lahore struggled to disperse enraged lawyers trying to break into the courtroom of the chief justice at the Lahore High Court (LHC), on Monday. The lawyers were protesting contempt of court proceedings against the president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) of the Multan bench.
The situation further deteriorated when a five-member bench of the LHC issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the LHCBA president and directed the police to produce him before court. Following the court order, the group of lawyers resorted to violence and tried to break into the courtroom of CJ LHC as a police contingent attempted to tackle them, leaving several policemen injured.
Meanwhile, LHCBA secretary Saeed Ahmed Rawn was also wounded in the police shelling. In the ensuing clashes, the lawyers tore down the main gate of the court as police used water cannons and fired teargas shells to scatter the protesters.
The protesters demanded that the order to arrest Sher Zaman Qureshi, president of the LHCBA’s Multan chapter, should immediately be overturned and contempt of court proceedings against him be dismissed. Sources said several lawyers had been injured during clashes with the police and were shifted to the city’s Mayo Hospital, however, Zaman was said to have absconded.
Following the clashes, the court suspended Zaman’s license and the lawyers announced a province-wide strike on Tuesday.
On August 1, the LHC issued bailable arrest warrants for Zaman for not appearing before the court for his alleged misbehaviour with a judge.
Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali expressed deep sorrow and remorse at the clashes between lawyers and police outside the LHC.
“Bench and the bar complement each other and have to work in harmony. Consumers of justice depend on them and any rift between them will be perceived by people as failure of the justice system,” the AGP said in a message to the bar leaders and the lawyers community as he urged them to show restraint and to uphold the dignity of the bar. “The dignity of both institutions has to be maintained at all costs.”