ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) have called for a nationwide strike of all courts on Thursday (today) to show solidarity with the lawyers who were beaten by the police outside the Lahore High Court (LHC).

PBC Vice-Chairman Riazat Ali Sahar and SCBA President Shehzad Shaukat in separate statements, issued by their respective offices, vehemently condemned the reprehensible police brutality inflicted upon lawyers in Lahore on Wednesday.

According to them, numerous lawyers have reportedly sustained serious injuries and many have been unjustly detained.

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It was decided that the lawyers would abstain from appearing in the courts to demonstrate solidarity with the advocates of the Lahore Bar Association, and will convene protest meetings, marches, and rallies in their respective bar rooms to express their dissent on this matter.

The incident occurred at Mall Road, near the LHC, where the police scuffled with the lawyers who were holding a peaceful protest against the notification to transfer cases to the “Model Town katchery” and the unjustified registration of terrorism cases against their fraternity.

Sahar emphasized that every individual, including lawyers, possesses the fundamental right to engage in peaceful protest.

He underscored that the PBC cannot ignore such flagrant acts of police brutality perpetrated against advocates.

He strongly criticised the excessive and unwarranted use of police force against lawyers, denouncing it as a shameful act perpetrated by the police and a grave violation of their duty and discipline. The brutal conduct exhibited by the Punjab Police has tarnished the dignity and respect of lawyers, who have consistently advocated for the Rule of Law and the supremacy of the Constitution. Such egregious behaviour demands immediate and severe action against the responsible police officials.

He has, therefore, demanded immediate and decisive action from both the Federal and Punjab governments, along with senior police officers, to address the involvement of police officials in this shameful and inhuman act. He urged for exemplary punishment to be meted out to those responsible.

SCBA chief, Secretary Syed Ali Imran, and the 26th Executive Committee have strongly condemned the police’s high-handedness against the peacefully protesting lawyers.

They said that arrests of peaceful lawyers represent a clear infringement of the principles of democracy, freedom of expression, and the right to dissent. Being citizens of this Country, everyone’s rights are protected under Article 4 read with Articles 9, 10-A, 14, and 19 of the Constitution.

They have warned that let no one be mistaken, if the police brutality continues unchecked and the lawyers’ just and fair demands remain unmet, this protest will escalate into a nationwide movement, with the SCBAP spearheading the call for nationwide action.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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