A shocking incident in Sargodha is a worrying indicator of the impunity with which lawyers’ groups break the law and engage in hooliganism. A female district Assistant Commissioner was locked up following a heated exchange of words in court. A local lawyer was arguing his appeal in the court when a spat broke out between the two and the AC, Dr Anam Sajid, ordered her staff to expel the lawyer from the court. At the order, the lawyer’s juniors retaliated by locking the doors of the AC’s office from outside.
The act is a brash and uncouth action, and the people involved, unworthy of the legal profession. It is clear disrespect of the profession.
The actions should be condemned by lawyers of all backgrounds and the lawyer responsible for the transgression should be removed from legal practice. When lawyers in the country themselves do not respect the law, and take it into their own hands, it reflects on a poor state of affairs. Most of all, the incident itself and the fact that the AC had to dismiss the lawyer from the court shows how legal processes are devoid of the proper respect and demeanour that underpins professional practice.
The incident shows the vulnerable position of government officials in the face of a hostile lawyer flanked by his cronies. On reaching the scene following the incident, the Deputy Commissioner, and Assistant Superintendent Police had to break the locks to release the hostages — all members of the AC’s office.
Such rowdy actions by lawyers have now become a routine occurrence in the country. Measures need to be taken on an emergent basis by regulatory bodies concerned to ensure that no one can misuse their profession associations to break the law and compromise safety of public officials and the lay person alike. Violent actions by lawyers in the past few months have lent them a poor reputation amongst the public, and it’s going to take some restorative actions to regain respect.*
Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2017.