40 lawyers booked, several arrested for vandalising judicial complex in Multan

MULTAN: Police registered a case against 40 lawyers, including Lahore High Court Bar Multan Bench President Sherzaman Qureshi, for vandalising the new judicial complex.

Lawyers protested the shifting of the judicial complex and resorted to vandalising the new building. The enraged lawyers broke the windows and doors of the judges’ rooms and courtrooms inside the new judicial complex and chanted slogans.

Superintendent judicial complex lodged the FIR at Bahauddin Zakariya police station. The case has been registered under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 16 of the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.

This is not the first time that Qureshi has been involved in an incident like this. In July this year, the bar president manhandled an LHC justice in Multan during a hearing.

Protest turns violent

On Wednesday, the lawyers had staged a protest outside the old judicial complex at Katcheri Chowk and reached the new complex in buses.
Upon reaching the new premises, located on Matital Road, the lawyers stormed into the 55-room building and started vandalising the premises.
The members of the legal fraternity claimed that they were against the decision to shift the judicial complex. The new judicial complex does not have sufficient facilities, according to the protesting lawyers.

The lawyers also remarked that they had given the relevant officials a month to meet their demands.

Lawyers not involved in chaos: Sessions judge

District and Sessions Judge Chaudhry Ameer Muhammad Khan said that lawyers were not involved in causing the chaos that erupted in the judicial complex.
While addressing a news conference in Multan, the judge said the incident at the judicial complex should not be stressed over.
He added that the new judicial complex building — over which the chaos erupted — has 61 lavatories and 36 water coolers. Besides that, he added, there is a 62-canal land for lawyers’ chambers.
The judge said lawyers should get to work, adding that there is no power which could close the courts.

Lawyers using their ‘democratic right’: Sanaullah

When asked about the protest on Wednesday, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News that the lawyers are just exercising their “democratic right.”
He remarked wittingly that there is a “national census” on staging protests to resolve issues.
“How can you stop them [lawyers] from following the actions that are accepted on the national level?” He mentioned that this is the precedent that has been set by the Faizabad Interchange protest, which ended after former federal law minister Zahid Hamid handed in his resignation.

He shared that the incident hadn’t come to his notice earlier as the lawyers had presented their demands to the judiciary. “We have just taken a notice of this. We will engage the lawyers and try to reach a compromise. If we are not able to do this, then we will approach an arbitrator to resolve the issue.”