ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) has suspended the membership of 60 lawyers for not responding to a strike called by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Islamabad Bar Council (IBC).
The IHCBA had decided to partake in the strike being observed by lawyers across the country by boycotting an oath-taking ceremony of new judges at the high court after IHC chief justice Athar Minallah suspended the “practicing license” of IHCBA Secretary Umair Baloch.
In a letter addressed to IBC Vice-Chairman Haroon Rasheed, IHCBA Joint Secretary Waqar Ahmed Gondal stated, “Despite strike notice issued by the Pakistan Bar Council as well as Islamabad Bar Council, the following lawyers have disobeyed the directions issued by your good office, therefore, their membership of Islamabad High Court Bar Association is suspended forthwith.
“[…] And this reference is forwarded for necessary disciplinary action, as your good self has already announced [an] order of the suspension of their respective licenses to practice for one month,” the letter added, in an apparent reference to a speech by Rashid in which he said that the licenses of the lawyers who did not observe the strike would be suspended.
On Friday, lawyers across the country boycotted courts in protest of the registration of cases against the lawyers arrested for storming in and vandalizing the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) earlier this week.
A notification issued by the PBC after the incident said the protest was “against partial and biased conduct of the local police and the administration of Lahore against the lawyers as well as action taken by the Islamabad High Court against the secretary-general, Islamabad High Court Bar Association”.
On Thursday, the high court had served a notice to IHCBA Secretary Umair Baloch for “professional misconduct and contempt” as he was reportedly forcing lawyers not to appear before judges as the high court’s bar association was observing a strike against alleged offenses against the legal fraternity in Lahore a day earlier.
The court also suspended Baloch’s license “to practice before IHC” until the next hearing, which will be held on December 19.
It is worth mentioning here that at least three patients lost their lives and several others were injured after a mob of disgruntled lawyers stormed PIC, ransacked the hospital wards and operation theatres and tortured the staff and visitors.
Almost 25 doctors were injured and Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan was also attacked by the lawyers.