Lawyers are facing physical threats and a barrage of online abuse, which are intended to intimidate and silence them from advocating on their client’s behalf. The abuse comes in all forms and is either by the opposing parties when the matter is sub judice, or from the very party that the lawyer is representing. The legal profession in Pakistan is flawed to a degree incomprehensible to the citizens of the developed world. Being a lawyer in a country like Pakistan has its inherent disadvantages. The risks associated with this sacred profession are unfathomable. The profession is looked down upon, and there are questionable implications and connotations that the masses at large have formed of it. Due to some black sheep in the profession and the illegalities on the part of different state institutions, the profession of law is at its lowest rung. The life of an ‘advocate’ is at risk the moment he takes up a case. It doesn’t matter if it’s the opposing party or the very party that lawyer has taken up the sacred task to provide justice to. The acrimonious justice system of Pakistan has left many lawyers to fend for their rights and live with worries. Taking up a case and spending sleepless nights on it, and then going through constant harassment has become a norm in Pakistan. A lawyer cannot influence the decision making of a judge any more than trying to present the facts to best of their abilities. A rapist, with all the evidence going against him, cannot and should not expect for the lawyer to perform miracles and influence or rather intimidate the judge into giving a decision in his favour. It cannot happen. Lawyers take their fees for the time they put into a case. They do not operate a charity, and cannot and should not be coerced into refunding the fee they have taken for the countless hours which go into any given case. It is incomprehensible when people can think along those lines. It’s the same as asking someone who spends the whole month working for an employer, and for some odd reason, the employer asks for a refund of the monthly salary at the start of each new month. It wouldn’t lead to any progress and will only drive the employee to either resign, file a suit against the employer or look for a more sane employer. The threats that lawyers face in Pakistan are uncalled for and harrowing in nature, with harassing phone calls, emails, physical assaults, and in some instances, ending the life of the very person they initially entrusted their life or matter to. Lawyers are human beings and have to feed their families. And, no place on earth has this profession been thrashed as it has been in Pakistan. Lawyers are portrayed as vagabonds by the media in general. For the law-abiding lawyers, to avail a minor facility such as credit from a financial institution has become a nightmare. No lending institution is willing to lend to a person of the legal profession. What the clients fail to realise is that a lawyer acts in the best interests of his clients, and it is the judge who makes the final decision Lawyers generally are very self-contained professionals. But no one is invulnerable to the effects and the abuse they see in their professional lives. Fair criticism is different from abuse. Lawyers face a torrent of personal abuse – increasingly in social media and a greater percentage of threats and physical abuse in person. There have been many instances where the lawyers have been assaulted on court premises by the aggrieved litigants. Some lawyers have lost their lives while trying to make a living and have left aggrieved family members with no one to fend for them. Overall public understanding of the profession needs to be improved. Nobody should underestimate how difficult or harrowing it can be to deal regularly with family cases concerning child protection, or criminal cases involving serious violence or sexual abuse. Nobody ever contemplates to make their life difficult and be constantly surrounded by grief and despair. It takes courage and dedication to enter this profession. The writer is a corporate lawyer and an alumnus of SOAS, University of London. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, February 17th 2018.