ISLAMABAD: Litigants heaved a sigh of relieve as hearings of their cases resumed in the Sector F-8 Kutchery on Wednesday as a 40-day strike by lawyers finally came to an end.
The move came a day after Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani had visited the district courts to review the situation. During the visit, lawyers had assured them that they would end their strike.
The district court judges also resumed hearing cases.
The strike had started on December 21 after lawyers had filed cases for judges rotation and their chambers were demolished overnight. In their protest, the lawyers had sealed courtrooms or obstructed the path to courtrooms apart from rebuilding their chambers.
Lawyers in Islamabad’s F-8 court complex end strike after 40 days
Later, the lawyers limited their strike to just two days a week. But over 70 judges of the district judiciary reportedly stopped hearing cases after a report from security agencies suggested that the illegal chambers built by the lawyers were a security risk for the district courts.
To appease the judges, the lawyers sealed some of their illegal chambers, but to little avail.
During his visit, the IHC chief justice had stated that dialogue was the only solution to problems and urged the bar to sit with the judiciary and resolve differences amicably, adding that the bar will be included in regulating issues at the district courts.
Justice Kiyani also urged lawyers to resolve all issues amicably.
It finally brought the stalemate to an end.
Court security reviewed
As hearings resumed in the courts, a high-level security meeting was held in the IHC registrar office on Wednesday to review the security of the district courts.
The meeting was attended by Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, Security Deputy Inspector General Waqar Chauhan and Islamabad Police Security SSP.
The meeting reviewed the security condition in Sector F-8 Kutchery.
The meeting decided to undertake stringent security measures in the district courts.
Previously, the Special Branch of police in a report had deemed the illegal chambers built by lawyers in Sector F-8 Kutchery a security risk.
The district courts have suffered terrorist attacks in the past, including a gun and suicide bomb attack in March 2014, which left 11 people dead and 25 others injured.
ICCI delegation meets IDBA
Separately, a delegation of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), led by its President Ahmed Hassan Mughal, called on the Islamabad District Bar Association (IDBA) President Chaudhry Khanzada on Wednesday to congratulate him for being elected as the chief of the body.
Mughal said that delays in the completion of the IHC building had, in turn, delayed the process of shifting district courts from Sector F-8 Markaz and called upon the government to take measures for early completion of the IHC building and issue funds for this purpose.
He said that the completion of IHC building would pave way for shifting district courts from Sector F-8 to the current location of the IHC.
The ICCI president added that the presence of district courts and lawyers' chambers in Sector F-8 Kutchery was creating problems for the business community in one of the largest commercial centres of the federal capital.
Illegal chambers: IHC chief justice to visit Sector F-8 Kutchery today
“The early completion of the IHC building was the only option to solve this issue,” he said.
Mughal said that close cooperation between ICCI and IDBA would be fruitful in addressing the common issues of lawyers and traders.
He assured that the ICCI will fully cooperate with the IDBA in achieving the common interests of traders and lawyers.
IDBA President Khanzada said that ICCI has always cooperated with IDBA which was very encouraging. He assured that IDBA would provide all possible support for resolving the issues highlighted at the occasion.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2019.
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