Leader in contempt case
Leader in contempt case: Enraged lawyers are protesting at The Mall after attempting to break a security cordon and enter a courtroom at the Lahore High Court (LHC) where LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah was heading a contempt hearing against Sher Zaman Qureshi, head of the bar association of LHC Multan bench.
Earlier, during the hearing, the LHC chief justice directed the Multan regional police officer to arrest Qureshi and another lawyer Qaiser Kazmi, and produce them in court tomorrow after they failed to appear despite repeated summons in the contempt of court case.
The bench also ordered the suspension of the lawyers’ licences. The chief justice observed during the hearing that the sanctity of the court is supreme and there will be no compromise on it.
As a result, lawyers loyal to Qureshi attempted to break into the chief justice’s courtroom and broke down a gate leading to it. The lawyers were also chanting slogans against the LHC chief justice.
The police and Rangers cordoned off the entrance to the courtroom and a tussle between the two sides ensued.
Authorities used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the protesting lawyers while members of the legal fraternity pelted stones at the LHC building and police personnel protecting it.
Sources said the protesting lawyers, around 200 in number, include bar members from Multan, Burewala and other areas.
They later moved to GPO Chowk and Mall Road in protest, disrupting traffic on one of the most crucial arteries of the Punjab capital.
Sources said the LHC bar association has called a strike across Punjab tomorrow, while a call for protest is likely to be given after an ’emergency meeting’ of lawyers’ bodies today.
In Multan, lawyers of the high court and lower courts began protesting against the incident in Lahore at Multan’s Kacheri Chowk.
The Multan city police officer raided Qureshi’s office but could not find him there. He then went to the district bar but Qureshi was still nowhere to be seen.
Sources said Qureshi has gone off the grid and was last seen escaping the district bar on a motorcycle earlier today.
The CPO said Qureshi will be arrested by all means and produced in the LHC tomorrow.
However, lawyers based in Multan said Qureshi would himself appear before the LHC chief justice if warrants of his arrest are withdrawn. They denied Qureshi had run away and claimed he is ‘among them’.
On July 24, Qureshi and another lawyer, along with a few others, allegedly misbehaved with Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and obstructed judicial proceedings of his court at the Multan bench.
They had also allegedly vandalised and ransacked the court premises and ripped off the nameplate of the judge.
Expressing displeasure over the lawyers’ behaviour, the LHC chief justice had stopped the judges from working for the Multan bench. The incident also led to the boycott of courts of the region by lawyers’ bodies.
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