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December 14, 2019

Lawyers’ body announces countrywide strike

Top Story

December 14, 2019

LAHORE: The lawyers’ Joint Action Committee on Friday announced a countrywide boycott of courts, Geo News reported.

The committee, which includes representatives from the Pakistan Bar Council, Supreme Court Bar and Lahore High Court Bar, was formed on emergency basis to devise the next course of action, post the escalating rift with doctors in Lahore.

Separately, the Pakistan Bar Council, a body of elected lawyers, also directed legal practitioners to observe a boycott.

Lawyers insist the strike was in response to the “partial and biased” conduct of the local police and the Punjab administration, as well as to protest the action taken by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the secretary general of the IHC Bar Association.

On Thursday, the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court issued a show cause notice to Umair Baloch, the secretary general of the IHC Bar Association, for forcing lawyers to quit the court.

Till now, more than 80 lawyers have been arrested in connection with the storming of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Lahore and for damaging public property.

When 46 cuffed lawyers were produced in an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday, Judge Abdul Qayyum Khan refused to grant the police physical remand and sent them to jail on judicial remand instead.

The Punjab police have registered a first information report (FIR) against 200-250 unidentified lawyers on the complaint of an official of the PIC hospital. The cases have been registered under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Separately, the Punjab Police on Friday raided the residence of Hassan Niazi, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nephew, as pressure grew to arrest him for his alleged involvement in the lawyers’ violent protest at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC).

The deputy inspector general (DIG) Investigations said Niazi could not be arrested by the raiding party “as he was not at home”. The official said “the latest technology” is being used to arrest the PM’s nephew. “Police have [so far] not named Hassan Niazi in their case,” the DIG noted, but clarified that Niazi was believed to be among the lawyers who attacked the hospital. –News Desk

APP adds: The deputy registrar of IHC on Friday issued a show cause notice to general secretary IHC Bar Association Umair Baloch for interfering in the court proceedings and summoned him on December 19 in person.

The deputy registrar, in the notice, stated that the IHCBA general secretary had interfered in the court proceedings of IHC chief justice on Thursday and stopped the lawyers from appearance, and directed him to appear in person before the court and explain as to why not contempt of court proceedings should be initiated against him for interrupting the proceedings.

The notice said the action of Baloch had created hurdles in the provision of justice to the applicants whose cases were being heard. The court also asked the IHCBA secretary general to submit a written reply within four days.

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