Hundreds of violent lawyers attacked Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Lahore on Wednesday. They forcefully barged in emergency ward, Cardiac Care Unit and Operation Theater, manhandling doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff and damaged medical equipment during rampage. Out of total disregard for humanity, the protesting lawyers even removed the oxygen mosques from under treatment patients. Doctors had to leave the hospital and media reports tell that eight patients, who were in critical condition, died for the want of proper treatment. The incident vividly reflects an attitude of intellectual decay.
The motive behind this heinous act was an exchange of hot words two weeks between a young Dr. Irfan and Lawyer because the latter refused to fill entitlement form for free medical treatment as per rules. The doctor had complained against the harsh attitude of legal fraternity in a video which went viral the other day. However, and apology was tendered by him later which was not accepted by the lawyer concerned and a mob of young lawyers took law of the land in their hands and launched attack ferocious on PIC. They committed violence against the patients and their attendants, burnt vehicles including a Police Mobile Van and smashed window panes in this medical institute.
Senior members of legal fraternity including Barister Aitizaz Ahsan, Barister Ali Zafar and Sabar Sattar have condemned the attack on PIC but regrettably, the protesting mob of lawyers was led by Lahore Bar Association Vice President Ijaz Basra and upcoming Bar Election presidential candidate RanaIntizar. Lahore Bar Association has also announced boycott of o proceedings in law courts. It is their usual tactics to put pressure on judiciary. Two FIRs have been registered against over 250 lawyers in Shadman Police Station. .One FIR was registered on the complaint of Saqib Shari Sheikh on behalf of PIC under Section 7 of Anti terrorism Act. It also included section 322 and some other relevant sections of Pakistan Penal Code. Two member of Lahore Bar Association who led the protesting lawyers have been named in the FIR, while 52 lawyers have been arrested.
Since the lawyers’ movement of 2007, the tendency of misplaced self-esteem, arrogance and insult of judiciary among the lawyers is on the rise. The incumbent Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa painfully said in a function on November 30 that legal fraternity is fast losing respect in the society. Drawing a comparison between the past and present the top judge said that black coat wearing lawyers had inspired a lot respect for them in the past which is now eroding. He urged senior lawyers to train and properly groom the large number of young lawyers. Likewise former Chief Justice Supreme Court, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar in a speech at function on December 16, 2017 refereed to an incident of insulting a female judge of lower judiciary. What does this recalcitrant attitude towards law by the proponents of rule of law signify? Does it not imply that the attack on PIC not only depicts an open display of intolerance but also inciting other sections of the society to emulate it?
The role of the executive to thwart this untoward incident is not an enviable one. The people at the helm of affairs knew that the protestors are coming to attack PIC but they remained indecisive how to deal with it perhaps because of the political clout of black coat. Let us hope that Bar and Bench will agree on a line of action so that such incident shall not happen in future.