The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has served notices to another 21 lawyers over misconduct and sought a reply from them in a week.
A three-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Lubna Saleem Pervaiz presided over the case pertaining to February 8's vandalism of the high court on Thursday.
Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) President Haseeb Chaudhry, Riasat Ali Azad, and other lawyers appeared before the bench.
The chief justice remarked that the case was not a personal issue for him, but a matter of the judiciary’s dignity. He added that IHC would send references against lawyers involved in the attack as per the law.
Justice Minallah noted that Islamabad Bar Council (IBA) had condemned the attack as well and asked the court to send references against the suspected lawyers.
He further stated that the list included of more than 150 suspected names but IHC wants to ensure nobody faces any injustice. The court maintained that currently it is serving notices to only 21 lawyers and it is their right to be provided with an opportunity to clarify their position.
The IHCBA president said that they were embarrassed by the incident and wanted action against the errant lawyers. However, he informed that they tried to approach the IHC several times for a discussion on the matter but could not get their point across.
At this, Justice Minallah noted that they had called the IHCBA official on Saturday but he did not come. Chaudhry responded by saying that they wanted to meet the chief justice alone in the absence of media.
Moreover, the judge remarked that the Pakistan Bar Council (PBA) had rightly maintained that the legal fraternity had always struggled for the supremacy of law. The court would take action against those who had damaged its image, he reiterated.
The judge maintained that he has always respected bars and also requested their assistance in the identification of the involved lawyers. He stated that the people involved in the bedlam were known to everyone, adding that they should not belong to the legal fraternity.
The court stated that it would not interfere in the investigation process of the case. Justice Minallah added that they were only serving notices for disciplinary proceedings of PBA and IBA as Chaudhry mentioned that the bar was assuming that the court would suspend licenses of the lawyers involved but it was just serving notices.
At this, the judge said that the lawyers have the right to clear their positions. He added that had the bar identified the lawyers, the matter would not have reached the point where it is today, reiterating that the law would take its course.
"I was expecting that the bar would itself write to IHC and point out the involved lawyers," the judge remarked.
He stated that they could have taken an action themselves but they trusted the bars and, therefore, wrote letters to them.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2021.