Lawyers wreaked havoc on Monday at the Islamabad High Court building when they protested last night over the Capital Development Authority’s demolition of their chambers.
Lawyers barged into the Chief Justice Block, smashed windows and shouted slogans outside his chamber against IHC CJ Athar Minallah, trapping him inside. At the time, the top IHC judge was inside his chamber, but when the lawyers reached the block and arrived far later, special security police troops were not present.
Female workers were removed from the block and other judges from the IHC arrived at the scene as well. Officials from the Department of Rangers and Counter-Terrorism were also deployed along with police to contest them.
The attorneys also physically argued with a Rangers officer, who had appeared at the Chief Justice Block of the court with other authorities. The official stood in front of the door.
Proceedings were halted in both district courts and the IHC and petitioners were barred from entering the premises. The road outside the court was closed because of traffic. The attorneys even misbehaved and filmed videos of journalists who were present on the scene.
In half an hour, we are trying to get this settled,’ Islamabad District Commissioner Hamza Shafaat, who had arrived at the court, said in an informal conversation with journalists. Islamabad police chief Qazi Jamilur Rehman and Yousuf Naseem Khokhar, Secretary of the Interior, have arrived at the premises of the court.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and President Haseeb Chaudhry of the IHC Bar Association urged the rioting lawyers to opt for dialogue.
“Until you people put your stance before us, we will not be able to solve the problem,” said Justice Kiyani, inviting the lawyers to speak in the bar room.
The lawyers said they “will not talk until our chambers are restored” They also said that they had captured some of their coworkers.
“Write the names of the lawyers who have been arrested, [I’ll] order the SP straight away [to release them],”Write the names of the lawyers who were arrested, [I’ll] order the SP immediately [to release them]. “double trouble”double trouble.
“Lawyers have crossed the head of their house, now I will have to placate him as well,”Lawyers have crossed the head of their house, so I’m going to have to placate him, too. “A chief justice is chief justice, you have put his credibility and verdicts at stake.”
Haseeb also asked the lawyers to email their requests and told them he would meet them.
Haseeb said when addressing the attorneys, “The damage done to the IHC building today is my loss. “If you cause a ruckus like this, then don’t complain that our president isn’t with us.
In the meantime, IHC Bar Association Secretary Suhail Akbar Chaudhry released a notice declaring a strike and stating that the body will not only condemn the “injustice” but will also take “strict action, if needed”
The damage done to the IHC building today is my fault,”The damage done to the IHC building today is my loss. “If you cause a ruckus like this, please don’t complain because our president is not with us.
In the meantime, Suhail Akbar Chaudhry, IHC Bar Association President, issued a notice calling a strike and announcing that the body will not only condemn the injustice, but will also take stern action if necessary.
Justice Kiyani instructed the President and Secretary of the IHCBA to “cooperate” and encourage lawyers to assemble for a discussion in the chamber. The judge also directed the senior police superintendent, on the request of the protestors, to free all the attorneys and those who had been arrested.
He asked the lawyers why the chief justice’s chamber was hurt.
“You didn’t damage the district commissioner’s office or a police station,” he said. You have to inform the chief justice, so after making a ruckus, if you tell [him] how is the matter going to be resolved?
“The chief justice is your strength, what you did in his office had no excuse.”
He also vowed that the Deputy Commissioner would be summoned and questioned who issued the instructions to tear down the chambers that were wrongfully demolished. At the same time, though, the judge confirmed that the construction of “illegal chambers should not have been built in front of the court”
“I’m not defending this act of the administration but chambers should not have been built in front of courts,” he said.
Justice Kiyani pointed out that, considering the actions of the lawyers, the chief justice had not “said a word” He said forces that would take advantage of this are “against the judiciary and lawyers will take advantage of this” and advised the lawyers to “not make matters worse”