DASKA: Violent protests engulfed Daska, a Tehsil of Sialkot on Monday as protesting lawyers joined by people set ablaze several government offices and damaged private property after a police SHO killed two lawyers including the president of the local bar association.
Protests erupted following the killing of Rana Khalid Abbas, the president of the Daska bar association, and lawyer Irfan Chauhan in Daska earlier today and there were pitched battles between the protestors and police.
According to latest reports, charged demonstrators in Daska had set the office of the Deputy Superintendent (DSP), TMA office and residence of Assistant Commissioner on fire.
Demonstrators entered freely in TMA office and set record and other equipments on fire. They smashed police mobiles and set a bus on fire as well.
Lawyers in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, and Multan also staged protests against the killing of their colleagues, with television footage showing some protestors resorting to attacks on police personnel and vehicles.
Meanwhile, a large number of lawyers demonstrated outside the Punjab Assembly building in Lahore in protest against the killings.
In Multan, furious lawyers broke the glass windows of a police mobile van as members of the People’s Lawyers Forum demonstrated at Kachehri Chowk. Similar scenes were witnessed in Faisalabad and Gujranwala as lawyers clashed with police personnel.
Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab, Mushtaq Sukhera has vowed a transparent inquiry of the Daska incident saying that the probe would be launched in accordance with all legal and justice requirements. He also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident.
The protests also spread to Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad and other cities and towns of Punjab province.
Taking notice of the killing of two lawyers in Daska, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered a swift probe into the incident. He also has sought a report of the incident from the authorities concerned.
“Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their own hands,” he said in statement issued in Islamabad.
The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the main lawyers’ association, announced a nationwide strike on Tuesday, May 26. The PBC said that lawyers will hold protest rallies across the country tomorrow.
The council also announced three days of mourning. A statement from the PBC vice-chairman condemned the murder of the two lawyers in Daska. The council demanded that the Punjab government immediately arrest the killers and take measures to ensure the protection of lawyers.
Earlier, the Islamabad District Bar and High Court Bar associations also announced a boycott of court proceedings across the country tomorrow to register their protest.
The Islamabad Bar Association has demanded immediate resignation from Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. The lawyers have also demanded neutral investigation into the incident.
SHO who fired fatal gunshots arrested: DPO
The incident occurred when officials of Daska Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) along with SHO of Daska city police station Shehzad Warraich were conducting an anti-encroachment drive in Sialkot’s Daska tehsil when local residents and lawyers staged a protest, demanding more time from authorities.
The clash turned fatal when shots were allegedly fired by the police officer, which severely injured the bar association president and another lawyer Irfan Chauhan. Both injured lawyers succumbed to their wounds.
DPO Asif Shahzad said things turned violent when police tried to stop the group of lawyers who were “rioting” in the tehsil’s Municipal Administration Office. He said that following a confrontation, the SHO fired the shots which severely injured three lawyers including the bar association president.
Later, infuriated lawyers blocked traffic at Civil Chowk by burning tires and hurling stones at policemen. Law enforcers responded by firing teargas shells against the violent protestors.
Shahzad said that the SHO who fired the shots has been taken into custody.
The Punjab Bar Council has called a strike on May 26 boycotting judicial proceedings in courts province wide condemning Abbas’ killing. The council has said that no lawyer would appear in the court tomorrow.
In Multan the lawyers protested against the incident. The Multan bar has borcotted the judicial proceedings.
Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court took notice of the killings and summoned the heads of various lawyers organisations. The CJ also sought a report from the Daska district and sessions judge as a meeting went under way in this regard.
During the meeting, it was decided that Rangers personnel would be sought to maintain the law and order situation in the violence-hit areas.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab have taken notice of the issue and have demaded immediate reports on the matter. CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has ordered judicial inquiry of the matter.
Punjab Assembly adopted the resolution against the police brutality and demanded strict action against the culprits involved.Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif has summoned a report from the regional police officer (RPO) Gujranwala.
The CM has expressed grief over the killing of the bar president. He ordered the authorities concerned to provide the best treatment to the injured protesters.
Punjab Inspector General (IG) has taken notice of the incident and summoned a report within 24 hours.