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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday clarified that it was working despite the strike called by the lawyers’ body, following the registration of cases against the lawyers who barged into the high court a day earlier.

An IHC spokesperson, in a statement, said that the cause list of today’s cases was cancelled after various lawyers’ bodies went on strike.

He clarified that now the high court and all the district courts were functional.

He said it had been wrongly reported in some sections of the press that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the district courts had been closed indefinitely by the court administration.

The spokesperson stated that it was clarified that the Islamabad Bar Council, the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, and the District Bar Association Islamabad had announced a strike.

“Therefore, in order to avoid inconvenience to the general public and lawyers, the cause lists were cancelled for one day. However, the Islamabad High Court and District Courts are fully functional now and carrying out regular court work, to serve the public,” said the IHC spokesperson.

He added that the IHC chief justice and all the other judges were performing their functions and were present in their respective chambers.

Later, the IHC also issued contempt of court notices to the 17 lawyers so far on account of their contemptuous act during the incident that took place on February 8th.

The names of lawyers who were issued notices to included Ahsan Majeed Gujjar, Arbab Ayub Gujjar, Faiser Jadoon, Farzana Mughal, Hamad Dar, Naseer Kayani, Nazia Abbasi, Raja Zahid, Shaista Tabbasum, Yasmin Rashid, Sindhu, Kulsoom Rafique, Kamran Yousafzai, Hafiz Malik Mazhar Javed, Khalid Mehmood, Raja Amjad, Raja Farrukh, and Tasadduq Hanif.

The lawyers’ bodies announced the strike after the police registered cases against lawyers following the attack on the court and the chamber of the IHC CJ by the lawyers on Monday.

The enraged lawyers had ransacked the chamber of the Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah, and also chanted slogans against him and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the demolition of their chambers at the Islamabad district courts in F-8 sector.

Due to the strike, the IHC and its sub-divisional courts in the federal capital remained closed on Tuesday, and the lawyers and the litigants opted to stay away from the courts in this situation.

In this scenario, the security for the high court as well as the Supreme Court was beefed up, with heavy contingents of police and Rangers guarding the courts.

Meanwhile, a statement of condemnation of the incident and call for legal action against the lawyers involved in the ruckus was issued with the signatures of some 70 lawyers. The statement said, “As lawyers practicing in the courts of Islamabad, we issue this statement to condemn the assault that took place on the Court of Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court and the ransacking of his office.”

It added, “We will not mince our words here: an attack on the judiciary is an attack on the very foundation of the legal profession, itself. As such, it has laid bare the true motivations of those who engage in such acts: pure self-interest, with the expectation that the law will bend over backwards to accommodate it.”

The statement further said that it is highly disappointing that the Islamabad Bar Council has failed to perform its regulatory functions to regulate the conduct of lawyers.

It is due to the failure of the IBC that the situation has reached to today’s incident where members of the bar attacked the IHC without fear.

It maintained that the Pakistan Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Rules, 1976 places upon us a duty to “uphold at all times the dignity and high standing” of this profession. They added, “Unfortunately, this has been reduced to mere text on paper.”

In a relevant development, the Islamabad Bar Council held a joint session with the cabinet member of the IHCBA and the DBA Islamabad, and passed a joint resolution condemning the demolition of the chambers constructed with the approval of the relevant authorities.

The resolution said that the events consequent to the demolition of the chambers which created a law and order situation at the IHC are indeed reprehensible.

It demanded withdrawal of FIRs against the lawyers and transfer of district and sessions judge (West) and action against the officers of the district administration and the CDA responsible for demolition of the chambers.

It further said that a strike shall be observed through the Islamabad Capital Territory and an appeal to the other provincial bar councils is also made to call a strike with regard to the demolition of chambers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021