District and Session Judge Nazir Ahmad Gajana has released over a technicality three lawyers who allegedly assaulted and detained public employees, but directed the SHO to proceed with the case in accordance with the law.
The judge had been hearing a habeus corpus petition for the release of Raza Chaddar, Zaheer Chaddar and Imtiaz Bhinder, who had allegedly been detained illegally by Islampura police.
The three lawyers had been locked up on July 1 after an incident at the Education Department office, where they had gone to seek a pay adjustment deal for one lawyer’s wife who worked there. Having failed to get their wish, the lawyers locked a room at the office and assaulted some clerks, according to the FIR of the case, produced by the SHO in court on July 2.
Some 500 clerks then gathered at the scene and protested, demanding the arrest of the lawyers.
The three were taken into custody by Islampura police and put in the station lockup. Then hundreds of lawyers gathered outside the police station demanding their release.
The policemen locked the main door of the station.
Meanwhile, Advocate Syed Farhad Ali Shah, former general secretary of the Lahore Bar Association, moved a habeus corpus petition contending that the three lawyers had been detained illegally by Islampura police.
A bailiff was sent to the police station, but the main door was locked, according to the bailiff’s report. The bailiff scaled the wall and found the lawyers in the lockup. He said that the arrest of the lawyers was not mentioned in the police record.
He was told that an FIR had been registered against the lawyers, but he was not shown it. He took custody of the detainees and handed them over to the petitioner against sureties of Rs200,000 each with the direction that they appear before the court on July 2.
On July 2, the SHO also appeared before the district and sessions judge and presented him a copy of the FIR, registered on the complaint of clerk Waseem Ahmed against the three lawyers, under Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (conspiracy), 186 (obstructing a public servant from doing their duty), 342 (wrongful confinement), 353 (assaulting a public servant) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The judge reserved the verdict on July 2 and announced it on July 3. He said: “The fact remains that at the time of the raid, the arrest of the detainees was not inserted in the police record. Therefore, the detainees, for the time being, are set at liberty. However, the SHO is at liberty to conduct lawful proceedings in the said criminal case.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2013.