Top regulatory body of the lawyers, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Tuesday demanded immediate withdrawal of criminal cases and disciplinary proceedings against lawyers of the Islamabad District Court who were allegedly involved in the February 08 rampage after their chambers’ demolition.
The PBC has also given a nationwide strike call for February 25 in solidarity with members of Islamabad Bar Council, saying in case of finding no remedy till February 28 in the matter from the people at the helm of affairs, the council has decided to convene ‘Lawyers Representative Convention’ from all over Pakistan in the first week of March to define further line of action in consultation with all the stakeholders.
In a statement on Tuesday, Vice Chairman of the PBC Khush Dil Khan said, “An untoward incident took place on account of demolishing of the chambers of Advocates at District Courts, Islamabad by CDA, without issuing a proper notice under the instructions through a letter written by the District & Sessions Judge, Islamabad for demolishing of only two chambers”.
Khush Dil Khan maintained that the CDA instead of demolishing two chambers of the lawyers demolished approximately 100 chambers of the advocates, resulting in great inconvenience and prejudice which also resulted in loss of books as well as briefs of clients.
Citing letter of the IHC’s Chief Justice Athar Minallah to the PBC who has urged action against acts of violence by alleged Advocates to hold every enrolled Advocate accountable allegedly involved in the incident, Khush Dil Khan said in reply to the letter on February 15 he has assured that the PBC shall take action against those responsible for the alleged actions.
Vice chairman PBC further expressed that through reply while assuring the fullest support of the Council to the Judiciary he emphasized that a meeting between the representatives of the Bar and the Chief Justice and Judges of the IHC is necessary to resolve the issue in the interest of the Bench and the Bar.
Instead of responding to the PBC letter of assurance for fullest support in the matter, a larger bench of the IHC’s Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued notices to 21 enrolled Advocates who according to the bench were allegedly involved in the incident, says Khush Dil Khan
Khush Dil Khan alleged that instead of responding to his letter, a full bench of the IHC’ Chief Justice on February 18 issued notices to as many as 21 enrolled Advocates who according to the larger bench were allegedly involved in the incident. PBC vice chairman said the larger bench has further directed the High Court and District Bar Associations to submit names of other enrolled Advocates who are known to them to the Registrar of the IHC, within three days, allegedly involved in the alleged incident for action to be taken against them.
“It is pertinent to mention that currently more than 8 Advocates including one female Advocate are in Central Prison Adyala, Rawalpindi and they are not being released purposely on bail as a policy matter, to their prejudice which is painful not only to the legal fraternity but also to the members of their family specially the young children of those Advocates”, vice chairman of the PBC alleged.
Resultantly, the PBC has asked the concerned authorities to withdraw all the FIRs, contempt of court notices against enrolled Advocates on/or before February 28. The council also demanded that disciplinary proceedings initiated or to be initiated against enrolled advocates by Islamabad High Court should also be withdrawn as the action taken doesn’t fall within the IHC domain.
“Disciplinary proceedings can only be initiated by the Pakistan Bar Council or the concerned Provincial/Islamabad Bar Council and not by the Court”, the VP PBC said.
The PBC has also urged the concerned authorities to immediately suspend/withdraw order which has been issued for further demolition of the lawyers’ chamber of the District Katchery, F-8 Markaz, Islamabad.