Writ of the State
THE other day lawyers of district Mandi Bahauddin attacked District and Sessions Judge Abdul Jabbar, dragged from official car and tortured him inhumanly.
It was ridiculous behaviour of the so-called lawyers. Prior to this condemnable incident Abdul Jabbar District and Sessions Judge Mandi Bahauddin, who also heads the District Consumer Court, had convicted the two civil servants after members of the district administration and the judge engaged in a heated argument over the eviction of the occupant of a government residence, awarding them three-month imprisonment each and issuing orders for sending them to prison.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) stayed a verdict of a consumer court ordering the arrest of Tariq Basra Deputy Commissioner Mandi Bahauddin and Imtiaz Ali Assistant Commissioner on contempt charges.
The Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner purportedly evaded arrest and left for Lahore over the weekend where they filed an appeal challenging the Consumer Court’s order before the High Court.
Sajid Khokhar District Police Officer (DPO) Mandi Bahauddin, whom the court had ordered to send the convicted officers to the prison, went on leave until the filing of the appeal.
Muhammad Ameer Bhatti honourable Chief Justice LHC, took up the petition and suspended the imprisonment orders.
He also served notices on all respondents and sought their response. The accused, through their counsel had maintained that the case did not fall under the purview of the Consumer Court.
But Justice Ameer Bhatti said the applicants could appeal before the higher forum if a lower court took notice of a matter despite it being outside its jurisdiction. The counsel for the officials argued that a judge must decide the case as per the law. The judge observed that the officials had disobeyed the Consumer Court by sending a clerk before the judge.
The Consumer Court judge had convicted the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner for contempt of court in connection with the hearing of a request by a citizen, Muhammad Asim, who was forcibly evicted from an official residence in WAPDA Colony by Rana Mehboob Ali, a litigation clerk in the district administration. The court issued notices to the officials to appear before the court.
The civil servants sent the litigation clerk who committed grave misconduct and contempt by misbehaving with the judge.
The clerk challenged the authority of the court as well. At this, the judge convicted him. However, Tariq Basra Deputy Commissioner telephoned the judge and misbehaved with him, asking him to set the clerk free.
The judge issued notices to both the officers under Section 228 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to appear and personally answer as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. The officers appeared in the court but could not satisfy the judge.
At this, the judge awarded three-month imprisonment and sent them to the Gujrat District Jail. It was a matter between District and Sessions Judge and the civil servants. Then why the lawyers became party to the matter.
Who instigated and provoked them to attack the honourable Judge? Those behind the scene should be traced and swearly taken to task no matter who is who.
In a second incident more than hundred lawyers attacked and ransacked the office of Sonia Sadaf Assistant Commissioner (AC) Sialkot, after accusing her of supporting the land grab mafia. The AC had recently overseen the demolition of a property during an anti-encroachment drive in Mohalla Prem Nagar.
The lawyers claimed that the AC was supporting the occupation mafia and had acted in violation of stay order by a court.
Whereas factually as a component of the State Assistant Commissioner took action against the malafied land grabbers according to law and tried to assert the writ of the State.
The police has registered a case against the lawyers under sections 440/341 and 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Naib Tehsildar Amir Adnan.
The complainant has informed that around 100 lawyers had forcefully entered the office of the AC and thrown out the furniture. The Assistant Commissioner was not present in her office when the incident took place.
The complainant also presented the police with video footage of the incident. I have also watched videos of the incident.
After attacking the office, the lawyers gathered at Kachehri Chowk and raised slogans, using obscene language against the AC.
n yet another incident Assistant Commissioner Dipalpur Asif Hussain was attacked by such mob. The vagabonds broke furniture of the office and took laptop of the officer. Out of these law braking lawyers Additional District and Session Judges and judges of higher courts will be selected.
How will such judges of malafied background become custodians of law and constitution. Will these lawyers turn judges not defame, and discredit noble profession of justice.
Are not these black sheep of the Bar challenging writ of the State. If the State is unable to maintain its writ and protect its privileged and dignified officers how will it guaranty security to life and property of the poor masses.
In the most recent Sialkot tragic incident, a mob lynched Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan factory Manager and ablazed him to ashes over an alleged case of blasphemy.
How will we justify the world that we are a normal tolerant nation and State? Where is the writ of the State? Does rule of law prevail in the country? Will the State of Pakistan tolerate such behaviour and encourage the mob justice any longer? People all over the world have reacted to these news stories on social media as videos of the incidents went viral.
When will such incidents stop? When and how will barbaric mobs and mafias be curtailed? The law breaker mobs and lawyers’ behaviour carry question mark.
The State of Pakistan is custodian of law and constitution. The masses are bound as practicing custodians of law and constitution. These are great ironic incidents.
The law is being broken by those who should protect it. How can every now and then the State avoid such hostages?
—The writer, based in Islamabad, is book ambassador, columnist and author of several books.