Call it sheer ineptitude or giving in to pressure tactics, the Margalla police have yet to arrest the four lawyers who, in a brazen misconduct, assaulted a judge during court proceedings a few days back.
Following the complaint of the judge’s assistant, Rashid Mehmood, the Margalla police, on July 11, lodged an FIR against the four lawyers and eight traders, who allegedly assaulted the judge during a hearing of a tenancy dispute in Aabpara market.
During the proceeding, in a brazen contempt of court, one of the lawyers even threw a book in the judge’s face. After the FIR was lodged, the police arrested eight traders including Aabpara Market Traders’ Welfare Association President Ajmal Baloch, who is a PML-N member and aspiring to contest by-elections from NA-48.
The police, however, have so far failed to net the assaulting lawyers, apparently fearing a backlash and resistance from the legal fraternity, who at many instances in the past, put up stiff resistance to save their colleagues from the “long arm of the law”.
A police official close to the development told The Express Tribune that as soon the FIR was lodged against the lawyers, the legal fraternity called a meeting of their bar associations and decided to go on strike. “They have threatened that if the FIR is not withdrawn, they will continue their strike.”
“The police are always under pressure and reluctant to take action against the legal fraternity, whether they attack a judge or the police,” said the police official requesting anonymity.
After the meeting chaired by Islamabad High Court Bar Association President Haroonur Rashid and Islamabad District Bar Association President Anwar Shah, the lawyers decided to observe strike till the FIR was withdrawn.
Condemning the traders’ behaviour in the courtroom, Trader Action Committee Islamabad General Secretary Kashif Chaudhry said if they were found guilty, they should be punished, but it was imperative that the police arrest the assaulting lawyers as nobody was above the law.
He demanded that the Islamabad High Court chief justice take note of the issue and direct the police to arrest the lawyers nominated in the FIR.
Investigation Officer Asjad Hussain confirmed that the lawyers, who had been nominated in the FIR, were yet to be arrested. “It is difficult for the police to even question them,” he said adding that they (lawyers) humiliate the police by attacking them and police stations. “They believe that they are above the law.”
In a similar incident a few months back, over 300 lawyers stormed the Margalla Police Station, after the police stopped them from encroaching on a public ground near Sector F-8. Another police official said the lawyers were troublemakers, who abused the law whenever someone dared to point fingers at them.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2013.
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