ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will Monday (today) resume hearing in the matter against the lawyers involved in storming the judicial compound on February 8.
A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah will conduct hearing of the case wherein he had already accepted a proposal to constitute a Joint Investigation Team and directed the JIT to forthwith seek assistance of the respective Bars to avoid harassment to the overwhelming majority of the lawyers who have in fact condemned the incident strongly. Previously, Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Mustafa Tanveer along with other officials appeared before the court and a joint report by him and the Deputy Commissioner was submitted and it was placed on record.
He stated that hectic efforts are being made to trace the main accused involved in the storming of the high court and it was in this regard that, pursuant to information, the chambers of some lawyers were visited. He and the Deputy Commissioner assured that while no stone would be left unturned to apprehend the miscreants involved in the grave incident, harassment would not be caused to other law abiding lawyers.
They stated that a JIT headed by a senior officer is being constituted and in case of any doubt assistance would be sought from the respective Bars i.e. Islamabad District Bar or the Islamabad High Court Bar, as the case may be.
The IHC bench observed that the President of the Islamabad District Bar and the Islamabad High Court Bar Association were informed and they were asked to assist this court in the case in hand so that no innocent lawyer faces harassment during the course of the investigation. It added that the Bars are definitely committed to uphold the dignity of one of the most noble professions and they have condemned those who had desecrated and vandalized the institution of which they are the guardians. This court, therefore, has no doubt that both the Bars will identify the lawyers involved in this heinous crime because they are known to them. The IHC Chief Justice wrote in his order,
“The JIT is, therefore, expected to conduct the investigations in a professional and transparent manner. It may seek assistance of the Bars in identifying the lawyers involved in the incident. This Court has no doubt that the Bars would provide the details of all those who had stormed the institution that they are committed to guard and who are responsible for tarnishing the image of the entire legal fraternity. The Bars surely have a resolve to take the matter to a logical conclusion.”
In response to a query, the court was informed that the two respective Presidents could not attend the hearing because they intended to lead a march of lawyers to the D-Chowk. It was informed that they are protesting against the delay in the establishment of a judicial complex for the district courts.
Justice Athar said that during the last hearing of the petitions filed regarding construction of district courts, this court was informed that the Federal Government had given approvals and that the construction work at the 5 acre plot already allotted for this purpose would commence soon. The consultant was appointed a few months ago. Both the Bars have been on board. The Bars were also asked to submit a plan for processing approvals on a separate 5 acre plot allotted for their exclusive use. All this has happened in the last two years.
“The initiative started by this Court to make the district courts the top priority would not have materialized without the cooperation of the present Federal Government. The credit definitely goes to the worthy Prime Minister who has given directions that there must be no delay in reforming the district judiciary by shifting the courts to a state of the art judicial complex. For seventy years, the district judiciary was not a priority.
The progress made in the past two years has been due to the commitment of this court and the worthy Prime Minister and his government to give the district judiciary top priority,” mentioned the IHC Chief Justice.
He added that though the office bearers of the Bars have remained involved in the process but it appears that more information ought to be provided to its members. He directed the Chief Commissioner to inform the office bearers of both the Bars regarding the progress made so far relating to the respective five acre plots for construction of the judicial complex and use of the Bars.
Justice Athar noted that no one is above the law. The storming of the High Court on the 8th of February was inexcusable and intolerable. Nonetheless, it has to be ensured that no innocent lawyer is harassed while proceeding against those who were involved in this unforgiveable display of disturbing and despicable conduct by guardians of the law.