Time and again the stories of violence and exploitation at the hands of the lawyers of the country have come to the forefront, but never before have they become so prominent in the media, within the masses, and the political fraternity. The incident of lawyers ransacking the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) over a petty dispute with some doctors goes to show how evolution and growth is merely a term of endearment for the people of the country, who despite reading words of law and discipline, end up doing exactly as they please given the authority that the constitution grants them.

Such incidents show how reforms are the need of this polity, where the protectors of the law are out to get the citizens of the country. The situation was so bleak and disruptive that the Punjab government had to intervene and bring in Rangers and the police force to take charge of the situation, by which time innocent people had already lost their lives because of the dispute and doctors fleeing their stations. Around 50 lawyers were arrested on the spot in association with the protests. The First Information Report (FIR) registered on Wednesday on the complaint of the PIC at the Shadman police station named the general secretary of the Lahore Bar Association Malik Maqsood Khokhar, vice president of the LBA Ijaz Basra and LBA presidential hopeful Rana Intizar among those who were leading the lawyers, provoking them and giving them the instructions that anyone including doctors and medical staff who get in the way should be unable to get away safely.

The government has and rightly so responded in a manner that condemns such acts. Such a display of hooliganism should be meted with strict penalisation. Two FIRs have been registered against the lawyers under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The government and the civil society should ensure that those involved in this do not go unpunished and face the consequences of causing such chaos and harm to the system. Those protecting the law should not be above it and this precedent needs to be set for those who are appointed by the state and have internalised that they can discard the law as they please. Legal reforms are a need of the hour and there is no better time to push for them than right now.