End thuggery by lawyers
The present executive body of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has lost the moral authority to lead the bar after Monday’s incidents at the LHC and the serving president’s subsequent call for a strike on Tuesday (today).
The matter at hand is a contempt of court proceeding against LHCBA Multan chapter president Sher Zaman who was stripped of his licence to practice law during Monday’s proceedings at the High Court. LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah also directed for issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants for Zaman.
Monday’s incident has not been the first involving hooliganism by lawyers’ groups. Lawyers associated with bar associations have been involved in such incidents against different segments of the society including judges and the practice has unfortunately remained unchecked. Neither senior and conscientious lawyers nor their regulating councils across the country have yet taken this abusive behaviour of their colleagues seriously.
This needs to change.
But two developments this month have been a departure from this trend. First, a group of Supreme Court Bar Association members publicly opposed hooliganism and pressed upon the association to dissociate itself from those involved in such activities in Multan. The SCBA has yet to come out with a clear position on the matter but we hope that better sense will prevail and the Apex bar association will side with those supporting rule of law, and not abuse of power by lawyers.
The second development is the police’s response to agitating lawyers at the LHC on Monday. Hooligans among the lawyers’ community have not been taken to task in such a manner by law enforcement agencies under directives from authorities concerned ever since the rightful movement led by lawyers for restoration of the Supreme chief justice.
At this moment, it is important to not lose sight of the underlying principle that governs rule of law in democratic societies. The law expresses the will of the people and that is why its rule has to be supreme. Agencies that enforce law do so in the name of the authority vested in them by people’s representatives to whom these agencies are ultimately accountable. Bar associations exist to promote this system. When those heading these associations start endangering the system through their thuggery, it becomes incumbent for conscientious members and regulators concerned to get into action against the leadership. The Punjab Bar Council should rise to the occasion and not only cancel licences of all those found involved in criminal activities on Monday as well as the earlier events in Multan but also sit down the Apex bar council to review rules for bar associations such that hooliganism discouraged.
Daily Times, August 22, 2017
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