The Lahore Bar Association (LBA) has accused the police of apathy regarding security at the subordinate courts, saying that the inspector general of police has not addressed their concerns about lax checking at the entrances.
On January 29, the Sessions Court was the scene of a mass brawl between rival gangs, who had managed to bring knives and other weapons into the court complex. LBA representatives later met with Acting IG Khan Baig demanding improved security. They told him that the walkthrough gates were not working properly and the police officials were not checking visitors nor their bags thoroughly.
They asked that the officials be replaced with better-trained policemen and they be given metal detectors.
“Police high-ups seem to be reluctant about taking appropriate steps to cope with the situation,” said LBA Vice President Chaudhry Tauqeer Sadiq. He said though the IG had assured them that their demands would be met, the situation at the courts had not improved.
Security arrangements at Aiwan-i-Adl and the District and Sessions Court are particularly poor, he said. Thousands of lawyers and litigants go to the courts every day but there are no metal detectors or walkthrough gates at the District Court, Model Town Court or Cantt Court, he added.
He said that the bar association would discuss the matter at an upcoming house meeting and decide what action to take.
Nabeela Ghazanfar, spokeswoman for the IG, said that the LBA’s concerns had been heard and were being addressed. She said that their demands would be met, hopefully within the week. Security personnel in plain clothes would also be deployed at the courts, she added.
Following last week’s brawl at the Sessions Court, SP (Security) Abdul Ghaffar Qaisrani told APP that police would set up more walkthrough gates to screen for weapons. But he also urged lawyers to cooperate with the police at security checkpoints, as “80 per cent” of lawyers refused to be screened.
Asked if the bar association would ask its members to submit to security checks, LBA General Secretary Kamran Bashir Mughal said that lawyers largely did do so and police claims to the contrary were “lame excuses”. He added that the LBA had already reminded its members that they must submit to searches at security gates and would do so again at its next meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2013.
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