Lawyers go on strike; demand release of arrested colleagues
Lawyers across the country, on the call of legal bodies, are boycotting courts on Friday to protest against the registration of cases against those lawyers who were arrested for their involvement in the incident at Lahore’s Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) earlier this week.
The legal bodies are demanding “immediate release” of those arrested.
The lawyers are responding to a strike call by the Pakistan Bar Council. A notification issued by the PBC yesterday said the protest was “against partial and biased conduct of the local police and the administration of Lahore against the lawyers as well as taken action by the Islamabad High Court against the Secretary-General, Islamabad High Court Bar Association.”
The lawyers’ joint action committee created on the matter said that lawyers will not appear in courts today. They said that the arrested lawyers were tortured by police and demanded immediate release.
Various local bar associations have also given strike calls today.
On Wednesday, lawyers had staged a violent protest at the PIC apparently in an act of revenge against a group of lawyers, who were beaten up at the PIC a few weeks ago, after some video clips surfaced on social media. The incident had caused three deaths as the condition of some critical patients deteriorated in the absence of doctors after the lawyers barged into the hospital and damaged equipment and broke windows.
In the aftermath of the attack, police arrested 81 protesters. On Thursday, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore sent over 46 of them on judicial remand while turning down a police request for their physical remand to investigate charges of attacking the PIC.
The Shadman police had lodged two FIRs against 200-250 lawyers which included Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
In a statement, PBC vice chairman Amjad Shah regretted that the local administration had arrested a large number of advocates, including those who were not present at the site of the incident, in addition to registering FIRs against them.