AGP urges top lawyers to mediate between bench and bar

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In the wake of the recent tension between the bar and bench, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali has written letters to over 130 lawyers to play their role to bring an end to the rift.

He said, “Being lawyers, it is our collective responsibility to uphold the sanctity of the bench and the bar.”

He said no matter could be resolved through strikes and protests. He suggested the legal fraternity to withdraw the ‘protest call’. He said, “A message should go to the common citizens that we are responsible and law abiding citizens.”

On August 21, dozens of lawyers broke the judges’ entry gate of the Lahore High Court and clashed with security personnel after the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Lahore High Court Bar Association’s (LHCBA) Multan bench president Advocate Sher Zaman Qureshi, who has repeatedly refused to join the contempt of court case initiated against him for misbehaving with Justice Qasim Khan of the Lahore High Court’s Multan bench.

The charged lawyers marched on Mall Road and congregated outside the LHC judges’ gate in an attempt to restrict the exit of Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and other judges.

Before taking out the rally, the lawyers had registered their protest on the court premises and dismantled the gate installed for the safety of the chief justice’s block. However, the Rangers personnel deployed for the security of the block managed to stop them from entering the premises.

The lawyers then staged a sit-in in front of the judges’ gate. LHCBA President Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali and Lahore Bar Association President Chaudhry Tanvir Akhtar led the demonstration. They shouted slogans against the chief justice and demanded a larger bench to recall the arrest warrants issued for Qureshi.

Keeping in view the consistent defiance demonstrated by Qureshi, the LHC larger bench issued non-bailable arrest warrants with directions to the Multan RPO to ensure his presence before the court on Tuesday. The bench also suspended his licence.

The LHC chief justice and other judges also held a meeting with Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar at the Lahore registry of the Supreme Court where they discussed the case during a two-hour meeting. They resolved to ensure the supremacy of law and to protect the dignity of both the bench and bar.