Muhammad Yousaf Aujla, the additional district and sessions judge who handled the diyat case of Raymond Davis, faces harassment from lawyers angry at his role in the release of the American CIA contractor, The Express Tribune has learnt.
A group of lawyers gathered outside his courtroom last Thursday and chanted slogans against the judge. They also vandalised the sign bearing his name at the entrance to the courtroom, pasting ‘American Court of Injustice’ and ‘Justice Seller’ on the name plate.
“We have sent him a message that we haven’t forgotten his decision against the country,” said one of the lawyers involved in the action, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Some members of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) said they would not allow the “pro-American” judge to continue in his post. “We will start a movement to force his transfer, like we did before with the sessions judge,” one lawyer said, referring to Judge Zawar Hussain, who was transferred from the post of Lahore district and sessions judge after protests by lawyers.
Aujla appeared to have expected an angry reaction from some lawyers. He went on leave for three days after Davis was released on March 16, a court staffer said. Before returning, he called up the staffer three times to ask the mood among lawyers concerning Davis’ release. The staffer told him that the reaction was subdued.
The staffer said that last Thursday, the judge was hearing a murder case when the group of lawyers approached the court. Hearing them chant slogans outside, the judge slipped away into his retiring room.
“They never came inside,” the staffer said.
However, they did glue a piece of paper to the judge’s nameplate making plain what they thought of his handling of the Davis case.
The staffer said that they did not notice the vandalism until a few hours later when it was pointed out by staffers from another courtroom. They then removed it, though traces of the white paper stuck to the sign remain.
LBA president Shehzad Hassan Shaikh said that he was unaware of the incident, but if one of the association’s members was involved in Thursday’s protest, the LBA would investigate.
Aujla is in the process of being investigated by a Member of the Inspection Team of the LHC after a complaint was received about him. The Supreme Court has also sought a copy of the report. Several petitions are pending in the LHC questioning the proceedings in the Davis case.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 03rd, 2011.