Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) on Saturday suspended the licenses of seven lawyers, including the Supreme Court Bar Council (SCBC) Vice Chairman Imrana Baloch for abusing the sitting and former PbBC executive chairman and beating an office stenographer.
The PbBC Disciplinary Committee has suspended Baloch’s lower court and Lahore High Court licence and referred the matter to the Pakistan Bar Council for suspension of her Supreme Court licence. It has also suspended the practicing licences of Humaira Bashir, Afaq Ahmed, Irshad Baig, Abdul Majeed Doger, Shakeela Rana and Hayat Klasra.
Witnesses said that the lawyers visited the PbBC office on Saturday at around 11:30am and asked Executive Chairman Rana Muhammad Asif Saeed to suspend the recently restored licence of lawyer Altaf Hussain.
Saeed reportedly responded that the PbBC had suspended Hussain’s licence for failing to appear in proceedings against him and that was why his licence was restored. The lawyers insisted that he suspend the licence. Saeed then said it could not be suspended with out hearing Hussain’s side. The lawyers abused PbBC officials and a scuffle followed. A paperweight was thrown at Saeed but did not hit him.
Rana Muhmmad Akram Khan, a former PBBC executive chairman, tried to mediate but advocate Afaq Ahmed allegedly grabbed him by his necktie. Stenographer Ahsan tried to intervene and was beaten up. Some of the PbBC officials sought refuge in an office on the first floor of the building but the lawyers followed them.
Lawyer Humaira Bashir from Burewala had moved the application seeking Hussain’s suspension. Earlier, Hussain had filed an application against Bashir and alleged that she was corrupt and involved in illegal activities.
The executive committee had fixed July 11 for hearing of both applications.
The Saturday incident was referred to the Executive Committee which suspended the licences of offending lawyers and forwarded the matter to the Lahore High Court tribunal for cancellation of their membership.
Imrana Baloch told The Express Tribune that the allegations against her were false. She said executive chairman had suspended Hussain’s membership but restored it one day later just because both belonged to Burewala.
She said that that the PbBC lacked authority to suspend her license since she was a member of the Pakistan Bar Council. She said she and other female lawyers had been detained and she had to call police rescue service for help.
Executive Committee Chairman Asad Masood Khan said that Altaf Hussain’s licence had been cancelled after for being absent from a hearing against him. “He submitted an affidavit and apology note the next day after which his license was restored,” he said. He said that the application against Humaira Bashir had been signed by more than 40 lawyers from Burewala.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2012.