Another day, another case of lawyers behaving like the goons they are supposed to protect us from. This is all the more troubling since this thuggery seems to be exclusively conducted on behalf of “influential and established” lawyers, who seem to have swapped their legal experience for muscle – and their vows of legal fraternity with ambitions of political power.

In almost a repeat of the incidents following the Khaddija Sadiqqui stabbing case, a mob of lawyers sought to intimidate the opposing side by resorting to violence. This time the “influential lawyer” who is beneficiary of this violence is Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) member Maqsood Ahad Buttar, who was accused in the disappearance of his second wife and child.

A trio of young lawyers appearing on behalf of the petitioner was surrounded by a mob of almost sixty lawyers, the women pinched, pushed and abused, and the male lawyer dragged out of court and viciously beaten. In the course of all of this, accusations of being a “qadiani” were hurled at the trio and used to fuel the violence of the mob, and perhaps to justify it as well.

This strategy has now been perfected to a science by these men; beat and intimidate the opposing side, and accuse them of belonging to a religious minority to shore up support. It is hard to say which is more despicable, the fact that professional lawyers habitually resort to violence to win cases, or that they can justify their harassment on the basis of perceived religious differences.

It is worth noting that the judge presiding over the case, Justice Abdul Sami Khan, did not move from his seat during the whole episode, neither did he do anything to stop the violence. This is the other facet of this problem; these lawyers get away with their crime because the legal fraternity and the judiciary are too powerless to punish them.

Criminal cases for battery and assault aside, which will take time and effort – a fact these goons bank on while carrying out their criminal activity – there are several administrative actions that the fraternity itself must take. It fact it is inexplicable why they haven’t done so. The Bar license of every lawyer involved in these kind of actions must be immediately and irreversibly revoked – with the wealth of CCTV footage present around the premises of the LHC, identifying the culprits should not be difficult. To be truly effective, this punishment must extend to the beneficiary of the violence – in this case one Maqsood Bhuttar, who must have authorised the violence in the first place.

Unless the legal and judicial fraternity rises above politics to condemn such violence unequivocally, it will remain shorn of any dignity or legitimacy.