Perceived insult: Bar threatens movement against LHC chief justice

‘A shadow cabinet has been formed in case LBA leaders are arrested or killed’.

Rana Yasif April 09, 2014
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial. PHOTO: ZAHOORUL HAQ


Lahore Bar Association President Chaudhary Ishtiaq announced on Tuesday that a movement would be launched against the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, for organising a seminar at the Punjab Judicial Academy which the LBA president said was intended to embarrass lawyers.

Ishtiaq said following misconduct complaints against some lawyers by court staff, the chief justice had said that the ‘black sheep’ should be expelled from the lawyers’ ranks. He was speaking at a general body meeting of the LBA at the Aiwan-i-Adal.

He said the movement would be launched after consulting presidents of other district bar associations in the Lahore division, the Punjab Bar Council and the Pakistan Bar Council.

He said they would strike on Wednesday (today), and that no judges would be allowed in court rooms. He said strict action would be taken against any lawyers who appeared in courts.

Other LBA leaders said there were also black sheep among LHC judges. They said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had criticised several verdicts of LHC judges.

They said many judges had been accused of corruption and asked why the chief justice had taken no action against “his black sheep”. One of the judges, they said, had been found dancing in a drunken state.

Another LHC judge, they said, had forcibly taken a traffic warden to the court in his vehicle.

The LBA president said the chief justice was trying to pressure them due to their resistance to the division of district courts. He said they would not bow down before any ‘dictator’. He said the LHC appeared to have joined hands with the Punjab Police to humiliate the lawyers.

Derogatory slogans were also chanted against the chief justice.

LBA representatives also nominated a ‘shadow cabinet’ to lead if the LBA’s existing representatives are arrested or killed in the movement they claim they will launch. The shadow cabinet will consist of Rana Zia-ur-Rehman as president, M R Awan as vice president, and Abdul Latif Hanjra, Asif Shakir and Hassan Buttar as secretaries.

Meanwhile, a ‘contradiction’ issued by the office of the Lahore High Court public relations officer on Tuesday  said the chief justice had never passed the remarks attributed to him. It also said the seminar was arranged in good faith to improve the working relationship among stake holders in the justice system, and that any maligning of any member of the lawyers’ community was not in sight.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2014.


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