Violating the judiciary’s dignity

Lawyers from the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) attacked Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Khawaja Sharif’s courtroom on Thursday. The LBA was protesting against District and Sessions Judge Zawar Ahmad Sheikh and asking for him to be transferred. Members of the LBA took out a rally from the Aiwan-e-Adl and after protesting at the GPO Chowk, ransacked the CJ’s courtroom. They not only chanted hostile slogans against CJ Sharif and Justice Zawar but also burnt the latter’s effigy. Some 200 lawyers were booked after this shameful use of force. Members of the Punjab Bar observed a Black Day on Friday over the LBA members’ arrests. More lawyers were arrested on Friday but LHC CJ Khawaja Sharif ordered their release.

It is apparent that some lawyers are still high on the success of the lawyers’ movement. What they do not understand is that the success of that movement was because a dictator tried to thwart the judicial system and the people were ecstatic to see a note of defiance from CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry. It was a matter of principle that led the people to come out on the streets in favour of the lawyers. But in the last few months we have seen the lawyers displaying their high-handedness when they do not get their way. By hook or by crook some black sheep in the lawyers’ community think they can supersede the law.

It is worrying to see that the lawyers, who are meant to ‘protect’ the law, are themselves guilty of taking the law into their own hands. We have seen them prattling on about the rule of law but some of the lawyers have seen it best to resort to lawlessness at the drop of a hat. What is worse is that the courtroom of the CJ, which is the most respected office in judicial quarters, was vandalised. The dignity of the court was impinged upon. Instead of ‘forgiving’ the errant lawyers, CJ Sharif should make an example of them and disqualify them from the Bar. An exemplary punishment is the need of the hour. Anything less will only encourage such ‘goons’ in the future.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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