ISLAMABAD - A violent clash took place between Islamabad police and members of bar associations of five districts of Punjab as the protesting lawyers allegedly tried to enter the Supreme Court premises on Tuesday.

Lawyers from various districts of Punjab staged a protest outside the Supreme Court and demanded establishment of Lahore High Court (LHC) benches in Gujranwala, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, Sargodha and Faisalabad divisions.

A large number of lawyers, belonging to five divisions of Punjab, gathered outside the Supreme Court on Shahrah-e-Dastoor and started protesting for formation of local benches of the high court in their areas.

According to details, the clash among the police and the lawyers erupted when they tried to enter the SC building. Police baton-charged and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters as a result of which several lawyers and the Islamabad assistant commissioner were injured. All the injured were shifted to Polyclinic Islamabad where lawyers also scuffled with doctors.

Earlier, lawyers staged a sit-in favour of their demand for establishment of the Lahore High Court (LHC) benches in Gujranwala, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, Sargodha and Faisalabad. They also criticised the judicial system and urged the authorities to revamp it with the help of lawyers.

The lawyers also announced to sever their relations with those candidates of the Lahore High Court Bar elections who were opposing the establishment of the benches.

According to the lawyers, the divisional benches of the LHC were need of the hour to provide easy justice to the people at their doorsteps and save their time and money. The Faisalabad lawyers started movement for the benches in January 2013. Later, other divisions also joined the movement.

Viewing the tense situation, the Lahore High Court assured the lawyers of accepting their demand soon. The lawyers, then in the interest of their clients, decided to work two days a week. Later, the Punjab cabinet took notice of the situation and promised establishment of the benches after the general elections.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has announced a countrywide strike and boycott of the courts on Wednesday. According to a press release issued by the PBC Tuesday evening, all the lawyers will boycott the courts and observe a complete strike on Wednesday to condemn torture on lawyers outside the Supreme Court.

The PBC condemned torture on the lawyers sternly in the statement, saying the police demonstrated sheer brutality by launching baton charge and teargas shelling on the lawyers. The lawyers will boycott courts completely and hold protest rallies across the country on Wednesday (today), announced the PBC.