LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Muhammad Qasim Khan on Wednesday expressed displeasure over ostentatious display by government while disbursing coronavirus lockdown relief fund.
The CJ was hearing a petition filed by the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) against lack of relief fund allocation for law professionals by the government.
“The middle class has been turned into beggars through the Ehsas Programme. They are asked to stand in long queues to receive funds,” the top provincial judge remarked.
Irked by the pomp and show, CJ Khan stated, “We have created a new concept of taking pictures with the poor. We do not acknowledge that we are helping the needy with a bag of flour unless we take photos.”
He criticised the head of the Ehsas Programme for conducting photo shoot during distribution of ration.
The top judge also summoned the principle secretary to the chief minister of Punjab and sought a reply from the federal law minister with respect to the petition.
“It is regrettable that the federal government is not helping out the lawyers in this critical time,” the CJ observed.
A representative of the government sought time for a comprehensive reply from the federal law minister.
“Neither the lawyers can run a business nor do any other job. Yet 15 days have passed and the government has not even approved the summary for giving funds to lawyers,” the chief justice said.
LHCBA representatives contended in the petition that coronavirus relief funds were being given to nearly all sectors, while the lawyers’ community was deprived of the much need financial assistance.
Amid lockdown, litigants are not approaching counsel for legal help and the judiciary too has narrowed the number and types of cases allowed for hearing, resulting in the financial woes of a large number of law professionals.
It was prayed in the petition that direction be passed to the authorities concerned to allocate relief funds for the legal fraternity.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2020.