ISLAMABAD - Five retired judges and 80 lawyers of the Supreme Court on Friday defended the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah to suspend the Multan High Court bench and issuance of contempt notice to its Multan Bar president for his alleged misbehaviour with an LHC judge.

They wrote a letter to SCBA president Rasheed A Rizvi, expressing concerns over the bar’s resolution against the LHC CJ.

The five retired judges namely Munir A Sheikh, Javed Buttar, Khalil ur Rehman Khan, Karamat Nazir Bhandari and Syed Asghar Haider also signed the letter. Likewise, renowned professional lawyers like Abid Hassan Minto, Kamal Azfar, Anwar Kamal, Syed Raza Kazim, Salman Akram Raja also signed the letter to support the LHC CJ.

The SCBA two days ago after holding meeting with the delegation of Multan Bar had passed the resolution wherein they extended support to Multan lawyers.

Multan High Court Bar Association President Qureshi along with some lawyers allegedly misbehaved with Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, who was hearing a case about a mosque falling on the route of a government project.

The LHC chief justice subsequently withdrew judges from the Multan bench but made the principal seat of the LHC and its Bahawalpur bench available for dispensation of justice.

Later, the chief justice formed a special bench, which issued contempt notice to Multan high court bar’s president, who allegedly misbehaved with the LHC’s judge. Meanwhile, the SCBA’s executive committee passed a resolution, wherein it condemned “acts of harassment” in which lawyers of the Multan bench and their families have reportedly been intimidated by the government agencies.

The lawyers group urged the SCBA president to take clear support for the settled norms of the legal practice and disavow hooliganism of certain lawyers. “As the bar association of our apex court, the SCBA should have been leading the fight against hooliganism and rowdiness by lawyers,” says the letter.

The letter also expressed astonishment that instead of condemning the Multan’s incident, why the SCBA executive body ignored the hooliganism in the court room of CJ LHC on August 2. “We stand firmly for both the rule of law and the dignity of the bar. But there can be no rule of law and equally no dignity of the bar, if the lawyers openly flout their code of ethics,” says the letter.

The lawyers say that they are equally in favour of judicial accountability and proper conduct of judges but they cannot excuse or justify a complete disregard by lawyers of the canons of ethical professional conduct.