LAHORE: A large number of lawyers went on rampage on Monday, turning the Mall Road outside Lahore High Court into a virtual battlefield as police fired teargas shells and water cannon on stone-throwing lawyers who protested against the arrest warrants of Lahore High Court Bar Association’s (LHCBA) Multan Chapter president, ARY News reported.
The situation took a turn for worse when heavy contingents of police stopped protesting lawyers from entering into the courtroom where a bench headed by LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah was seized with the hearing of a contempt of court case against LHCBA Multan president Sher Zaman Qureshi.
Enraged lawyers pelted stones on the personnel of anti-riot police unit, forcing them to fire tear gas shells and water cannons to scatter them.
Earlier, the bench issued warrants for the arrest of Qureshi and directed the police to arrest and produce him before it. The warrants came after he refused to appear before the court in compliance of its earlier orders. It also ordered suspension of his licence.
Infuriated by the court order, lawyers went on rampage and broke open a gate leading to the courtroom where the bench was hearing the case but were stopped by the anti-riot police. Afterwards, they staged protest outside the LHC and pelted the police with stones, triggering strong reaction from them who fired teargas shells and water cannon to disperse them.
The protesting lawyers demanded that the court should withdraw the arrest warrants against Sher Zaman Qureshi, and quash the contempt of court case against him.
Reacting to the police action, LHCBA president Zulifqar Ali Chaudhry condemned the action and announced to observe complete strike at courts across the province. He said lawyers will not appear in courts to pursue their cases and wear black armbands.
Commenting on the incident, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said when protesting lawyers broke the gate, the police swung into action and fired teargas shells to disperse them. Had they not been stopped there, the incensed lawyers would have entered into the chief justice’s chamber. This violent act on their part cannot be tolerated, he added.
Earlier on July 24, Sher Zaman had misbehaved with a member of the high court’s Multan bench, Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, which draw a sharp rebuke from the chief justice who took serious notice of the incident and withdraw judges from the Multan bench.