LAHORE       -        A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday remarked that a violent attack on the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) by lawyers showed that law of the jungle was prevailing in the country.

The bench criticized the lawyers involved in the violent attack on the biggest heart care health facility in Punjab. He said the bench consisting of Justice Ali Baqir Najafi and Justice Anwarul Haq made these remarks while hearing four petitions filed for the release of the arrested lawyers.

The bench observed that said their heads had bowed with shame over the disgraceful incident took place in the health facility.

Justice Anwarul Haq asked the lawyers’ representatives, “How dare you attack a hospital? He asked them to justify the actions committed by the rioting black coats. He asked the lawyers’ representatives what measures would have been taken if the rioting lawyers had attacked the bar council instead of the hospital.

Representing the accused, Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar submitted that police did not have the authority to torture anyone. He further said that the lawyers were being treated as if they went to the PIC for fighting a war.

However, the counsel’s remarks angered Justice Najafi who then affirms that they had surely gone to the PIC to fight a war. Advocate Tarar then said: “We have condemned the incident on TV shows”.

Justice Najafi then said, “You have no idea how we all are suffering after hearing about this incident.”

Justice Najafi observed that the bar council had black sheep in their ranks.

Saying, “the law of the jungle does not civilize a society, and what you have committed is a culture of the jungle”, Justice Najafi said the court will give a justifying verdict in the case.

On the lawyers’ arrest, the court sought a report from the capital city police officer (CCPO) and ordered the police to implement the decision pertaining to medical examination of the accused lawyers. The court then adjourned the hearing till December 16.

The angry lawyers also went to the courtroom of Justice Syed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and demanded end to the judicial proceedings.

However, Justice Naqvi remarked, “It is my responsibility to ensure continuity of judicial proceedings.” He further said that it was up to lawyers community whether they appear for their cases but there would be no delay on the part of the court. He urged the protestant lawyers to resolve the issue by visiting the PIC with bouquets and “hugging out” their differences with the doctors and hospital admin.

In addition the Proficient Lawyers Society moved the Lahore High Court through another petition seeking answers from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) over the “one-sided” coverage of the incident. The petitioner also sought reply from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority over the viral videos showing lawyers attacking the hospital.

In a related development, lawyers boycotted court proceedings and demanded immediate release of the black coats arrested after the PIC attack.

They observed the protest against the police for their “partial and biased conduct, and the Lahore administration against the lawyers. They also protested the action taken by the Islamabad High Court against Islamabad High Court Bar Association secretary-general.

Demanding their colleagues’ immediate release, the lawyers said that the arrested lawyers were tortured by police.

A day earlier, an anti-terrorism court sent over 40 lawyers on judicial remand to jail by rejecting the police request for their physical remand to investigate charges of attacking the PIC.

They were presented before the court after Shadman police had lodged two FIRs against over 250 following which the lawyers were arrested. The FIRs were registered under sections 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 as well as 148, 186, 290, 291, 324, 353 and 436 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).