A group of lawyers beat up a staffer at the subordinate courts on Wednesday, prompting a brief strike by court staffers, in a replay of similar events from a day earlier.
Witnesses said that Advocate Rai Khalid Pervez Waseem approached Nadeem Nazeer, who is ahalmad for Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Afzal, at the Lahore Development Authority Complex and asked why the courtrooms were locked.
Nazeer responded that the magistrate was on leave while court staffers were on strike in protest at the beating of a reader, Mehmood Butt, by lawyers at Aiwan-i-Adl on Tuesday.
Waseem then asked Nazeer for the mobile phone number of the magistrate’s reader, Qudratullah Baloch. Nazeer told him to wait a bit, as he was locking his room. Waseem and five colleagues of his then proceeded to beat up Nazeer.
Nazeer ran towards the courtroom of a civil judge and the lawyers chased him. Other court staffers saw him and escorted him to the courtroom of the senior civil judge.
Nazeer told The Express Tribune that he had been attacked merely for asking the lawyers to wait for a little while. He said that a tooth of his had been knocked out.
Advocate Waseem said that Nazeer had refused to help him when he asked for the reader’s phone number, telling him he was going to join the strike and the lawyers should return the next day. He said Nazeer had pushed him out of his room. He denied breaking any of his teeth.
Soon after, staffers of the civil courts, district courts, sessions court, Model Town and Cantonment courts assembled at Aiwan-i-Adl and chanted slogans denouncing the lawyers while boycotting their work.
District and Session Judge Mujahid Mustaqeem Ahmed and Lahore Bar Association President Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali reached the chambers of the senior civil judge to seek a resolution to the matter.
LBA General Secretary Asad Zaidi later said that the matter had been resolved in the presence of the judge and Bushra Zaman, additional member of the Lahore High Court inspection team. The strike ended at around 2pm.
On Tuesday, Advocate Farhan Gillani and several other lawyers had thrashed Mehmood Butt, reader for Civil Judge Mubashar Nadeem Khan, alleging that the reader had denied Gillani his turn to serve as a local commission in a case because the advocate had refused to bribe him.
Butt and Gillani both filed applications against each other with the police. Butt had also pledged to raise the matter with the district and sessions judge. On Wednesday, he told The Express Tribune that both sides had withdrawn their applications to the police.
There have been over a dozen violent incidents in the subordinate courts in Lahore since the start of April, most of which have involved lawyers beating up police officials, court staffers or litigants.
District and Sessions Judge Ahmed told The Express Tribune that both matters had been settled. He said that Nazeer had exaggerated his claims and he had not lost a tooth in the scuffle.
He said that he had scheduled a meeting with the LHC chief justice to discuss the rising number of violent incidents at the courts, but he did not say when the meeting would take place.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.
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