Islamabad-Inadequate security arrangements and vulnerability of the Islamabad district courts premises pose serious threats to judges, lawyers and a large number of litigants visiting the area daily to pursue their legal affairs.  In this regard, the legal fraternity has expressed its serious concerns over the insufficient security measures at the district courts premises.

The district courts of federal capital are situated in the commercial centre of Sector F-8. The area presents a muddled look as not only the chambers of lawyers but a number of makeshift offices offering stamp papers, affidavits and attestation and refreshment centres, restaurants, cobblers are all mingled up without any planning.  The premises has eight entry points where walkthrough gates are installed which are dysfunctional most of the time, security officials deputed there also remain absent.

A quick round of district court divulges that there are only four female security officials along with some policemen deputed at the entry points while the individual search prior to entry is also at their discretion. Lawyers talking to The Nation expressed their concerns over the poor security measures at district courts and termed them as security hazards.

They said that a boundary wall was erected around the premises when the commissioner’s office was present there but the same had been broken at many places since no attention was given to repair it after the shifting of commissioner’s office and there is also no security personnel deputed there to avoid any untoward situation.

They demanded from the authorities to deploy Elite Force and Rangers in the premises to avoid any untoward situation in the future. Talking to The Nation, Chaudhary Amjad Advocate termed the security problem of the district courts as a very serious issue and lamented that police as well as Islamabad administration are not ready to cooperate with the legal community in this connection.

He said that the security arrangements taken for judges, lawyers, and litigants are very poor.

Amjad said that in his opinion, security should be more effective and enhanced to ensure the safety of the general public visiting the court regularly.

Highlighting various issues faced by the lawyers in the premises, Media Coordinator of IDBA advocate Chaudhary Khalid Hussain said that security gadgets and metal detectors are functional which pose serious life threats to all visiting the area.

He told that they had requested many times to the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police to provide district courts with proper security but they paid no attention towards this issue.

Many visitors have also expressed the same reservations. They said that many of the restaurants and eateries, makeshift stalls of cobblers and others are a constant threat for an untoward incident as these spots are often crowded by Afghanis.

A frequent visitor of the area, Farasat Ali said that it is the responsibility of the police to provide the area with security but so far they have not done anything about the situation.

Similarly, Wahab Khan, a shopkeeper at the courts said that visitors always complained about the security arrangements at the courts. He added that they viewed it as a security hazard, as it remained crowded throughout the day with no police cover.

It is also pertinent to mention here that in the past, many incidents of exchange of fire and brawl have taken place at the premises. One also cannot forget the gun and bomb attack in the past at the district courts which claimed lives of 11 people including a district and sessions judge and 29 other people sustained injuries.

A similar incident occurred on July 17, 2007, when a bomb was exploded while people were busy in preparations to welcome then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. In the bomb blast incident, four people lost their lives while PTI leader Dr Israr Shah was deprived of his both legs.