The Islamabad High Court on Saturday accepted a proposal put forward by the police to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the arrest and harassment of lawyers following an attack on the chief justice block of the high court.
Hearing the case, Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah remarked that a JIT led by senior police officers should be formed and should arrest the lawyers explicitly involved in the attack, and take action as per the law against them.
“Ask the JIT bar about the suspects in this case. The presidents of the Islamabad District Bar and the High Court should identify the lawyers involved,” the chief justice asserted.
“No one is above law, nor will the attack on the high court incident be ignored at any cost,” Justice Minallah stated while hearing the case.
“You all know who the attackers were. They were all lawyers who had come here, and there was no outsider. I know a majority of them personally. They are all included in proceeding with the march, agitating the lawyers, and in attacking them,” he added.
He further stated that the arrested lawyer can file bail pleas seeking their release in accordance with the law.
“Neither the innocent ones should be arrested nor should the accused be spared,” said Justice Minallah underscored.
The court directed the police to independently take actions in accordance with the evidence and the law.
“A police cannot illegally harass a person or his family. The innocent ones should approach for relief as per law,” Justice Minallah maintained.
On Monday, dozens of lawyers ransacked the chamber of IHC chief justice during a protest against the demolition of their illegal chambers at the Islamabad District Courts also known as the katcheri.
The Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) enforcement team and police on Sunday night demolished the illegal chambers and on Monday morning a group of rowdy lawyers entered the IHC premises, angrily chanting slogans against the judiciary and the CDA.
The mob later barged into the IHC chief justice’s chamber and started ransacking the office in which Justice Minallah was present. Groups of lawyers also forced other judges out of their courtrooms.
The mob also restrained other lawyers and visitors from entering the IHC premises. Lawyers even misbehaved with the journalists who were trying to cover the incident.
IHC chief justice stated that he has written a letter in this regard and is now awaiting a response from the regulators.
Justice Minallah also added that there was no need for protest as he had been working for the katcheri after assuming the charge as chief justice.
“The incumbent government worked at a fast pace for the transference of the district judiciary,” he said, adding that “the government granted approval for the katcheri transference funds from the PSDP.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered that there should not be any hindrance in the transference of the district courts, and a consultant has also been hired in this regard. The ruling government, especially the prime minister and the federal cabinet deserve appreciation, IHC judge said.
The high court ordered the chief commissioner to inform the bar in writing, updating them on the progress of the transference of the district courts.
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