LAHORE - Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Wednesday restored functioning of Lahore High Court Multan Bench, which was withdrawn earlier over lawyers’ misbehaviour with a judge.

The standoff between the bar and the bench is still continuing as the lawyers are not ready to stop their protest.

The chief justice constituted a five-member bench which issued show cause notice to the lawyers who were involved in making a move to obstruct dispensation of justice, removing Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan’s nameplate from the courtroom and crushing it under their feet.

The lawyers in Multan, according to sources, have refused to stop their protest, demanding the chief justice to take the show-cause notice back.

On July 24, an incident which is said to be an attack on the Lahore High Court, Multan LHCBA President Sher Zaman along with a lawyer misbehaved with Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan who was holding proceedings of a case related to a mosque falling on the route of a government project in Vehari Chowk.

After the unhappy incident, the chief justice withdrew judges from the Multan Bench of the Lahore High Court while exercising his constitutional powers in this regard. However, the Lahore High Court principal seat and Bahawalpur Bench were made available for dispensation of justice.

A committee, comprising Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali and Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi, was also constituted to provide an opportunity to the bar to resolve the matter. The LHC registrar office also wrote letters to Pakistan Bar Council and Punjab Bar Council for resolution of the dispute. However, no one came forward from the bar to resolve the matter.

Now, a five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, would start its proceedings against the delinquent advocates under the law of contempt and High Court Rules and Orders for suspension/or removal of the said advocates from the practice of the high court. Justice Muhammad Anwaarul Haq, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Shams MehmoodMirza are the other members of the bench.

In a joint press conference, the LHCBA Multan president, secretary and the SCBA secretary said Chief Justice Shah had no powers to end the Multan bench. They said they would approach the Supreme Judicial Council to take action against the CJ over doing so.

“We shall go to Supreme Judicial Council against the chief justice,” said LHCBA Multan President Sher Zaman. The lawyers’ leaders demanded the chief justice withdraw the show-cause notice issued to their colleagues. Sher Zaman Qureshi said they would hold a convention in South Punjab against the chief justice because of his unconstitutional step. Meanwhile, Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association have announced a complete strike for Thursday (today).

FIDA HUSSNAIN