Punjab Bar Council suspends licences of Buzdar, Basharat over failure to notify of govt appointments

The Punjab Bar Council suspended the practicing licences of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat — both of whom are advocates by profession — for failing to apply for a suspension before assuming their respective government offices.
A notice has been issued by the council’s vice chairman to both the ministers asking them to appear before him on January 4, 2020, with a written reply on “why their matter may not be referred to the Punjab Bar Council Disciplinary Tribunal for further action in accordance with the law”.
Speaking to media, the vice chairman said that Buzdar and Basharat had not informed the council while joining their new offices, an act which is “against the rules of the council”.
According to the notice, under rule 175(1) read with 108 (O) of the Pakistan Legal Practioners & Bar Council Rules, 1976, they were “bound to get their licences suspended but miserably failed to discharge their duties”.
In the notice, the chairman also cited the recent attack on the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Lahore and alleged that the “attitude” of CM Buzdar and law minister Basharat “during the whole proceedings from occurrence till date” has been “aggressive, non-cooperative and highly objectionable as advocates in the settlement of the matter”.
“They not only damaged the prestige but also the dignity of the profession of law,” read the notice.

Attack on PIC

On December 11, members of the legal fraternity had staged a violent protest at the PIC reportedly on a mission to avenge some lawyers who had been beaten up at the hospital a few weeks ago.
The incident had resulted in the death of three critically ill patients after doctors fled the wards to escape from the enraged mob that had barged into the hospital, damaged equipment, and broken windows and doors.
The next day, the city’s Shadman police had lodged two FIRs against 250 lawyers which included Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act and arrested 52 lawyers.
While presiding over a cabinet committee on law and order to review various aspects of the incident, Buzdar had said “an inquiry has been initiated into the unfortunate incident”. “Those who attacked the PIC will not escape punishment as vandalism at the hospital cannot be tolerated.”
Basharat had announced the Punjab government’s decision to fully prosecute all those involved in the violent protest. “I assure you all, the government will see to it that no concessions are made.”
In the days that followed, hordes of lawyers from across the country held strikes, demanding the release of those arrested. Meanwhile, a group of 55 senior lawyers in an open letter called upon the Pakistan Bar Council — the mother regulatory body of lawyers — to proceed against delinquent lawyers who violated the law and committed illegal acts.