ISLAMABAD: Fists went flying in an Islamabad district court when a group of lawyers thrashed a policeman who was testifying before a judge.
ASI Javed Sultan of the Margalla police had been summoned by Judicial Magistrate Jawad Hussain Adil after a lawyer filed a complaint claiming that the official had misbehaved with him.
On the night of March 14, the policeman had stopped a lawyer riding on a motorbike near the Faisal Mosque for spot checking. When the lawyer, Imdadullah, could not produce registration papers for the bike, following standard operating procedures, Sultan took the lawyer to the local police station and impounded the bike. It was returned to the lawyer the next day after the lawyer brought the registration papers for the vehicle.
Imdadullah then filed a complaint before a magistrate claiming that the policeman had misbehaved with him and had called him names.
Magistrate Jawad Hussain Adil admitted the lawyer’s application and summoned the policeman on March 18.
As the police official started narrating the sequence of events, a lawyer named Rao Abdur Raheem entered the courtroom and reportedly tried to hit the policeman.
An eyewitness told The Express Tribune that other lawyers took the lead from Raheem and attacked the policeman in open court, right in front of the judge.
“They tore up the policeman’s uniform and even pulled his hair out,” the source said. A few locks of the ASI’s hair were still lying on the courtroom’s floor on Monday.
“They beat him up. He fell on the table and the table’s corner jabbed into his chest, making it hard for him to breathe,” the eyewitness said, adding that the “judge struggled to pacify the lawyers.”
Sultan, the policeman who had been assaulted, claimed that the lawyers continued to attack him outside the courtroom as well.
“Outside, they beat me again. Then, when I fell on the ground, they dragged me and began swearing at me,” Sultan said in his complaint.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti and the district bar association eventually had to intervene.
Leaders of the bar association offered to settle the issue with the police, but senior police officials stuck to their guns and booked the suspected lawyers for torturing a police official. A case was registered at Margalla Police Station against Rao Abdur Raheem, Imdadullah, and Asif Ali Tamboli, along with a host of other lawyers.
Officials also detained Tamboli for a few hours, but let him go after lawyers gathered outside the police station.
The police, however, said they will not let the culprits get off the hook easily.
“It is not just a crime against an individual. The uniform represents the state,” a police officer said.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) staged a day-long strike on Monday to protest against, what they claim, was ‘police gardi’ (abuse of power) and convened a general body meeting on Tuesday.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Tamboli – one of the three suspects and a joint secretary of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association – said that the ‘scuffle’ broke out after the policeman pushed a lawyer away, adding that police had misbehaved with the lawyer, even after he produced documents.
Meanwhile, all three lawyers named in the FIR were granted pre-arrest bail by ADSJ Mufti on Monday, while the police will present a reply in court on April 3.