KARACHI: The legal fraternity observed a strike on Monday to protest against the way some lawyers were roughed up by security escorts of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf as he was making his way to the Sindh High Court on March 29.
As Musharraf was heading to the courtroom to ask judges to extend his bail in a number of cases – including the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto – lawyers gathered around him and started chanting slogans. One of them, Advocate Tajammul Lodhi, even threw a shoe at the former president, and lawyers claim law enforcers beat him very badly. They have also alleged that the law enforcers had used obscene gestures and foul language while warding off lawyers present at the scene.
During the protest on Monday lawyers boycotted proceedings in the SHC as well as subordinate courts. “The entire high court was surrounded by personnel from law enforcement agencies, including the police and Rangers. The advocates were made hostages,” said SHC Bar Association members at an emergency meeting they held following the incident. “It seem that the high court was taken over by law enforcement agencies.”
The association took strong exception to the closing of the courts on March 29 as advocates were prevented from entering the courtrooms of Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. In a unanimously adopted resolution, they alleged that this happened because of Pervez Musharraf and his security staff, adding that such an incident had never occurred in history before.
“The association is concerned about the security of lawyers and judges,” said Mustafa Lakhani, the association’s president. In the resolution, the lawyers went on to say that they would continue to stand up against “dictatorial attitudes”.
The association asked the Chief Justice Mushir Alam to protect the high court from such incidents in the future by taking strong action against the Rangers and security staff escorting Musharaf.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2013.