- The CJP speaks
The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, has weighed in on the attack by lawyers of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), and along with the condemnation of the attack expressed by other leaders of the profession, he has also said that it provides an opportunity for introspection to both the legal and medical professions, and for self-accountability. The CJP, who has himself been a working lawyer of considerable standing before his elevation to the Supreme Court, has attempted to speak for both professions, while his words also included an element of the belief that the medical profession bore some responsibility for the incident. There seems an element of lawyers thinking their community demands special treatment. However, there is an element, present within the doctors, who seem to believe that the medical profession should also be treated as a sacred cow. The problem is that other professions claim to be immune from the law, and it seems that doctors and lawyers are pressing their own claims.
The lawyers’ demand for a judicial inquiry seems plausible, until one realises that no judge can claim totally neutrality, having either himself been a lawyer, or having had much to do with lawyers if elevated from the subordinate judiciary. That lawyers are not willing to let the police do its job indicates that they believe that the lawyers arrested will not get justice if left to their tender mercies. Still, that is no excuse for avoiding arrest. It seems that the Prime Minister’s nephew Hassan Niazi, one of the protesting lawyers, is doing precisely that, what with police raids to arrest him proving unsuccessful. The PM has distanced himself from his nephew, but the police, normally so efficient at arresting people, cannot find him.
The legal fraternity seems more bent on defending those accused of attacking the PIC, than in helping identify and punish the attackers. There can be no other reason for the nationwide protest called. The showing of strength by lawyers makes one wonder if the community realises the gravity of what happened. In that respect, it is to be hoped that the legal fraternity will listen to the man who is supposed to stand at its head, the CJP.