SADIQABAD/AHMEDPUR EAST/ARIFWALA/

MANDI BAHAUDDIN

The lawyers fraternity across Punjab observed strike and boycott of courts against the manhandling of senior lawyers by the police and press the government transfer the Rahim Yar Khan District Police Officer (DPO).

Like other parts of the Punjab province, lawyers in Sadiqabad on the call of the Punjab Bar Council, boycotted the courts as protest against Elite Force personnel’s “beating and tearing clothes” of senior advocate Mumtaz Mustafa.

In the tehsil courts, the lawyers completely boycotted the courts and no lawyer appeared in the courts. Bar President Abdul Khaliq and other office-bearers condemned the incident and said that district Rahim Yar Khan had been converted into a police state where no citizen’s honour was protected.

The protesters said that Rahim Yar Khan district police officer Sohail Zafar Chattha had completely failed and demanded that the Punjab government should immediately transfer the DPO and take a strict action against the accused policemen. Otherwise, they warned, the lawyers’ community would be forced to protest at a higher level. They said that their protest against the incident would continue till the transfer of the DPO.

They also said that Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Bandial had taken a notice of the alleged police torture on the lawyer while the LHC Registrar had sought a report in this regard. Lawyers were of the view that Advocate Mumtaz, who is former vice chairman of the Punjab Bar Council, was coming to his chamber when he requested some Elite Force personnel to clear the way by removing their vehicles parked outside Police Lines main gate to block traffic on the district courts road. The Elite Force personnel started beating him and tore his clothes. When two lawyers Falak Sher Drigh and Malik Madni Khokhar came to his rescue, Elite men tortured them as well. Other lawyers rushed to the spot and clashed with the personnel. Lawyers also snatched the pistol of an Elite Force man.

Similarly, the Bar Association Ahmedpur East observed a complete strike in protest against the manhandling of Member Punjab Bar Council Malik Mumtaz Mustafa by police. The TBA members expressed solidarity with the senior lawyer and demanded immediate transfer of RahimYar Khan DPO Sohail Zafar Chattha. Bar President Nazar Hussein Aslam condemned the Rahim Yar Khan police for not registering a case of the incident despite orders of the District and Session Judge. He demanded the Punjab CM to take notice of the incident and order transfer of the DPO.

In ARIFWALA, the Tehsil Bar Association observed strike and boycott of the courts for the second consecutive day on the call of Punjab Bar Council against the DPO. No lawyer appeared in any court of law, bring proceedings in all courts to a halt.

The lawyers in Mandi Bahauddin also observed strike on the call of Punjab Bar Council to condemn the incident in which police tortured lawyers in Rahim Yar Khan. They did not appear in courts and held a meeting where they expressed solidarity with the affected lawyers. Speaking on the occasion DAB Vice President Sher Muhammad Gondal said that the police in name of security checks had installed barriers on roads where traffic was blocked and police personnel unnecessarily harassed and insult public. He called upon the government to take strict action against police personnel who resorted to subjecting senior lawyers to physical torture and tearing their clothes. Lawyers of sub division bar associations at Phalia and Malikwal also observed strike to show solidarity with their comrades of Rahim Yar Khan.

Meanwhile in Bahawalpur the bar associations also observed strike to extend support to the senior lawyers who were subjected to physical torture by police in RY Khan. On the occasion, the lawyers pledge to protect rule of law and did not hesitate from offering any sacrifice for the right of the black coats.