LAHORE - Lahore High Court Bar Association Multan President Advocate Sher Zaman Qureshi who was facing the charges of misbehaving with an LHC judge and obstructing justice was supposed to appear before a five-member bench of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday, but he did not turn up.

The court was informed by a leader of the lawyers that they were trying to defuse the situation and anger of the Multan lawyers. He said a general house meeting of LHCBA Multan had passed a resolution against the court’s orders, announcing they would not appear before it.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, gave the last chance to LHCBA Multan President Sher Zaman Qureshi to appear before the court and adjourned the hearing until August 11.

The bench took up the matter at 3pm, instead of 11am, as members of the bench had gone to attend funeral prayers of their colleague judge’s wife. A large number of lawyers gathered outside the courtroom and chanted slogans against top LHC judges for summoning their colleagues through warrants.

A delegation of lawyers held a meeting with members of the bench inside the chamber and, later, told the protesting lawyers that the hearing had been adjourned for some other day.

Earlier, the court withdrew non-bailable warrants issued to contemnors by showing grace on the repeated requests of the bar leaders. The CJ regretted the matter was being politicised to protect just an individual. “The court has powers to force anybody to appear, but it has shown grace and leniency as no one can refuse appearance,” the chief justice remarked.

The police force deployed outside the courtroom of the chief justice did not stop the protesting lawyers from chanting slogans and avoided any clash.

On Monday, the bench issued non-bailable arrest warrants for LHCBA Multan President Sher Zaman Qureshi and others, but the court withdrew its order on the request of the bar’s leaders.

On July 24, Sher Zaman along with a lawyer misbehaved with Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan who was holding proceedings of a case related to a mosque falling on the route of a government project in Vehari Chowk.

The chief justice took serious notice of the unhappy incident and withdrew judges from the Multan Bench of the Lahore High Court, while exercising his constitutional powers in this regard. However, the Lahore High Court principal seat and Bahawalpur Bench were made available for dispensation of justice. On July 26, the LHC chief justice restored functioning of the Multan Bench.

FIDA HUSSNAIN