LAHORE: A full bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) under strict security on Friday held in-camera contempt proceedings against Lahore High Court Bar Association-Multan (LHCBA-Multan) President Sher Zaman Qureshi for allegedly misbehaving with Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and obstructing judicial proceedings of his court in Multan bench on July 24.
Sher Zaman Qureshi, however, did not appear before the court.
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Ahsan Bhoon, Punjab Bar Council Chairman Ghulam Sarwar Nehang and Lahore High Court Bar Association President Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali attended the proceedings. The lawyer assured the court that disciplinary action would be taken against Qureshi, and also gave an undertaking that he would appear before the bench on August 21.
The LHCBA- Multan bench general house in a meeting had already decided that the bar president should not appear before the bench to face contempt proceedings. The other contemnor Syed Qaiser Abbas Kazmi attended the hearing.
During earlier hearing in the case on July 2, a group of mostly young lawyers entered the courtroom of LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, who was heading the bench, and started chanting slogans against the chief justice. They expressed their anger for summoning their colleagues through warrants.
Before the proceedings on Friday, the LHC Chief Justice Block, where the proceedings were to be held, was cordoned off on by anti-riot police to avoid any untoward incident. Police had blocked the area by installing safety gates and no one was allowed to enter the area.
Earlier, a dozens of lawyers gathered near the cordoned off area and chanted slogans against the bench.
Later, the aggressive lawyers dispersed after staging an hour-long protest.
A good number of senior lawyers, including Salman Akram Raja, Saad Rasood, Mansoor Awan, Faisal Naqvi, Ahmad Rafay Alam and Sarah Belal were also present to support judiciary. They show their support for, what they said, rule of law in response to unfortunate events when the protesting lawyers stormed the chief justice's court.
They opined that their primary objective was upholding dignity of both lawyers and courts.
They also appreciated intervention of the bar councils and associations and senior lawyers in the matter. They said that they were with the judiciary and could not condone the undue interference in court proceedings.
Former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir also joined them and condemned the incidents of hooliganism by lawyers and termed it against the dignity of the community. She said that most of the lawyers did not support the conduct of the Multan's lawyers as no one was above the law.
She said that Qureshi must appear before the court to face the notice as there was no exception.
Bench comprising Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muhammad Anwaarul Haq, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza was holding contempt proceedings against the two lawyers.
In an incident that took place on July 24, Qureshi and another lawyer had allegedly misbehaved with Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and obstructed judicial proceedings of his court in Multan bench and afterwards vandalised and ransacked the court premises and ripped off the name plate of the judge.
After the incident, the chief justice had withdrawn judges working at the Multan Bench and posted them to the Principal Seat, Lahore. Later in view of problems of the litigants the chief justice restored functioning of the Multan registry from July 27 and judges resumed their work.
The larger bench was constituted to proceed against the delinquent lawyers under the law of contempt and High Court Rules and Orders for suspension and/or removal of their practice of the LHC.
Published in Daily Times, August 12th 2017.