ISLAMABAD: Demonstrating against demolition of their chambers at the district courts, the lawyers on Monday ransacked the chamber of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice, Athar Minallah, and chanted slogans against him.
A large number of lawyers gathered at the IHC in protest against demolition of their chambers at Sector F-8 district courts by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
The proceedings of different cases at district courts and the IHC were suspended as well as petitioners were not allowed to the IHC premises.
The protesters also blocked service road near the IHC for traffic due to which the citizens faced difficulties.
The lawyers smashed windows in the Chief Justice’s block, chanted slogans outside the IHC Chief Justice's office, and reportedly trapped the IHC chief justice in his chamber. The CDA had on Sunday night demolished illegal chambers set up by lawyers in the premises of the district and sessions court in Islamabad.
At the start of the protest, the police were not present at the venue of the protest due to which lawyers entered the Chief Justice block.
Later, a heavy contingent of police and police commandos were deputed at the IHC premises to control the situation. The lawyers also clashed with journalists during the protest, and tried to stop them from recording and making footages.
Later, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani called lawyers to the bar room and asked the protesting lawyers to call their colleagues from the Chief Justice chamber, and resolve the matter through negotiations.
Addressing the lawyers, Justice Kiyani told the lawyers that we will not be able to solve the problems until you do not place your stance before us.
The protesting lawyers said that they will continue protest until restoration of their chambers and release of their colleagues.
Justice Kiyani assured the lawyers that he will order concerned Superintendent of Police (SP) to release the arrested lawyers.
Later, he ordered the police to release all the arrested lawyers.
Why did the lawyers damage the chamber of the IHC chief justice, Justice Kiyani asked the lawyers.
He told the lawyers you did not damage the office of the deputy commissioner or a police station.
He further told the lawyers that do not clap as this is not the day to clap.
“I did not defend action taken by the administration but illegal chambers should not be made in front of the courts,” he said.
He said that the lawyers have put him in double problems as first damages caused to lawyers, and then they attacked the Chief Justice’s Chamber.
Lawyers have made head of their house unhappy and now he will have to placate him as well, he said.
Justice Kiyani further said that the chief justice had not "said a word" despite the lawyers' behaviour.
He said that elements who are against the judiciary and lawyers will take advantage of this, and urged the lawyers not to make the matters worse.
Later, Secretary Interior Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Chief Commissioner Aamer Ali Ahmed and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Qazi Jamilur Rehman arrived at the IHC for holding talks with the lawyers.
During the negotiations, the lawyers demanded release of arrested lawyers, reconstruction of their demolished chambers and payment of Rs500,000 fine against each demolished chamber.
They also demanded to transfer the relevant SP and sessions judge from Islamabad and allow young lawyers to construct their chambers at the football ground till shifting of the district courts.
Despite hours long negotiations, dialogue between government representatives and lawyers remain unsuccessful and the lawyers announced that they would continue their protest till fulfillment of their demands.
Islamabad police have registered a first information report (FIR) against 21 lawyers for barging into the IHC chief Justice Block and rioting in the IHC premises on the complaint of the IHC's security in charge.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021