SC upholds IHC order of retrieving football ground from lawyers

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Zubair Qureshi

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Tuesday upheld an order by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) given on Feb 16 for the demolition of the illegally-constructed chambers of the lawyers of Islamabad on a football ground adjacent to the District Court complex in Islamabad’s F-8 sector.

The land of the playground was encroached by the lawyers as they had constructed chambers on it.

A three-member bench of the top court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed gave the order while hearing a petition filed by the Islamabad Bar Association and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to vacate the football ground from the encroaching lawyers.

The court also directed the Registrar of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to remove some courts if they are found to be constructed on the playground.

Earlier, a four-member bench of the IHC headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, and Justice Minagul Hassan Aurangzeb on Feb 16 had directed the CDA to retrieve the land from the lawyers and restore the playground by March 23.

“The federal government shall make arrangements for holding a football tournament amongst students of public schools on the Pakistan Day – March 23, 2021 – to pay tributes to the greatest lawyer of the subcontinent and founder of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” ordered the larger bench.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has also suspended the licenses of some 19 lawyers over misconduct and for storming the IHC building, Chief Justice Block, and manhandling the staff last month during a protest demonstration on Feb 8.

These lawyers were protesting against the demolition of their chambers by the CDA and the ICT in an operation a day earlier on Feb 7.

February 8 is considered Black Day in the history of the IHC as the angry lawyers vented their wrath by pelting stones at the IHC building. They also injured the staff and even took Chief Justice Athar Minallah hostage.

The IHC after the incident issued show-cause notices to 21 lawyers including the newly-elected President of the IHC Bar Zahid Mehmood Raja and Secretary Tasadduq Hanif.

After Tuesday’s order, their licenses have also been suspended. Besides, a member of the Islamabad Bar Council Naseer Kiani has also come under suspension.

According to the rules, the court will now send references against these lawyers to the Islamabad Bar Council that is headed by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiani of the IHC and the bar council will in return decide whether their licenses should be canceled forever or not.

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