A conflict that vent viral, befell on March 18, 2017 between the Assistant Sub-Inspector and the lawyers of Islamabad courts, and has gained much attention. The aggression and hype has been witnessed among the police officials and public. Some outrageous articles have passed through sights, blaming the whole lawyers’ community of treason and injustice. The dilemma as always, is that the public in follow-up of the media has been partial in viewing both sides of the picture. Nobody has bothered to scrutinise the truth of the quoted matter.

To prove the sustenance of unbiased perception and vision within us, we must hold on to pay heed to the other side’s account as well. The incident, unfortunately, has still never been quoted from the lawyer’s perspective which is a clear violation of the principle of natural justice that states, “No one should be condemned unheard”.

According to the unrevealed set of facts, on the night of March 15 at about 10 pm, Advocate Imdadullah was driving his motorbike back from his office situated at F-8 near the district courts towards his hostel. While he was crossing Zafar chowk, he overlooked the indication board near the police check post which asked the passers to stop. As soon as he mistakenly passed by the stop board, a policeman gestured him to stop. He immediately stopped his motorbike, and a policeman rushed towards him and begin sniffing him in a weird manner. Before Imdadullah would ask him anything to waive his astonishment, the police man asked in a harsh voice: “Are you drunk? You are coming after consuming alcohol”. The lawyer replied in a light way that he had never done that. The policeman asked why he didn’t see the board if he wasn’t drunk. To clarify the situation and to prove his reputable identity, Imdad showed his license and bar membership and asserted that he was coming back from the office and apologised for unintentionally ignoring the board.

Very unexpectedly, soon after seeing the license and membership cards, the policeman began to shout at him stating that all the lawyers are adulterers. Hearing this, Imdad argued in a polite manner that the words are unethical and the law defenders are not to be accused in such an immoral way. This angered the police man and he began stating in a humiliating tone that his name was Javed Sultan, he is the ASI and challenges all the lawyers to do whatever they can over this allegation. Then he ordered another policeman to take Imdad along with him and enter his name in the police station’s file. To avoid any further unpleasantness, he didn’t resist and the policeman rode on Imdad’s motorbike seating him behind himself. Instead of taking him straight towards the station, he kept riding him here and there meaninglessly for more than an hour along with advises to apologise. Finally, he took him to the station and began noting down his profile and whereabouts. Upon further questioning, Imdad was told that a report has been recorded against him for non-production of motorbike documents. The lawyer instantly presented his documents stating that they never asked him about the documents and they are present with him in complete set. The policeman refused to cancel the report and said that he will release the bike only if he was provided with the photocopied set of the documents which he would attach with the fake report so that their baseless allegations of bringing him to the station and bullying him for hours would be justified and investigated. Imdad understood the plot and refused to give such spurious evidence. He asked for a paper so that he would write an application against the conspired disgrace but the policeman denied to grant him any paper saying that as a lawyer, he has to arrange it himself and they did not have papers for a lawyer. He also kept calling names to the general and joint secretaries of the bar. He kept stating that they had brought many lawyers to the police stations and oppressed them to teach them a lesson. Imdad went out to purchase papers, wrote an application against the mischief suffered and went back to the hostel. The very next day, the officials of bar met the SHO Kifayatullah and asked him to take action against the ASI Javed Sultan for his immoral behaviour and slanderous allegations against the lawyers, referring to the application submitted by Imdad on the previous night. The SHO called the ASI and investigated the matter. He refused to admit any of the facts. The SHO also refused the existence of any application and took no further action.

Imdadullah, distressed by all this humiliation and dishonour, filed a private complaint under Section 200 of C.R.P.C against the ASI Javed Sultan in the court of Jawad Adil. On the morning of March 18, ASI Javed Sultan came to the court to litigate the matter. The judge asked Imdadullah to stand at a distance from him to avoid any clashes. Imdad assured the judge that the decorum of the court shall be respected and no unpleasant action shall be committed. A number of other lawyers had also arrived to watch the hearing as it was a matter relevant to their common dignity as well. As soon as the judge queried Javed Sultan about the case, he started blaming the entire audience that all the lawyers are liars and characterless. This triggered the lawyers present and they attacked him but stopped as soon as the judge pacified them.

It cannot be said that they were completely justified in their act, but the facts behind the aggression and the constant provocation have been concealed and the incident is being manipulated by the police and media. The recent cases of shooting of Taimur by Samiullah Niazi in Islamabad, the two motorcyclists shot dead near the Tipu Sultan signal by policemen and the one shot dead in Gizri and many other were all instances of not stopping at the check post. Is it a crime of such intensity that the police gets authority to shoot anyone dead without a trial or even an attempt to stop them? Erroneously ignoring the sign boards is not an act which couldn’t be deemed unintentional. Killing or torturing the public on such petty matters is not only an infringement of life rights but also an injury to the public’s dignity, honour and humanity.

Lawyers are an educated section of the country which are indispensable for the creation and protection of law and order in the society. Hurting their professional sentiments and dignity would eventually hollow out the legal framework and functioning of the society. If the law preservers are not respected, how would they ensure the provision of rights to the citizens at large?