Lawyers held me hostage for over three hours, says IHC CJ Athar Minallah

By: News Desk      Published: 01:09 PM, 10 Feb, 2021
Lawyers held me hostage for over three hours, says IHC CJ Athar Minallah

Chief Justice (CJ) of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah said on Wednesday that lawyers’ attack on the IHC on Monday was an insult to the ‘90 martyrs’ of the lawyers’ movement launched against former president Pervez Musharraf, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

He said he was held hostage for three and a half hours. “This was not an attack on me, but on the judiciary and the courts,” the CJ said while commenting on the hooliganism witnessed at and outside the court premises.

“I could have taken action, but preferred to remain confined to my chamber,” he said, and added, “Had I taken action, I would have been blamed for ordering crackdown on members of the legal fraternity.”

However, the CJ said only five percent of those who had launched an onslaught against the Islamabad High Court and other courts on Monday were lawyers; the rest 95 percent were professional advocates. “By launching an attack on the court, the lawyers taught others the way to act in a similar fashion in the future,” he opined.

Making it clear that no one was above law, including himself, he said the law would take its course. “There would be no compromise on the sanctity of the court,” he said categorically.

Lawyers present in his chamber on the occasion, however, said they felt ashamed at the conduct of members of their community.

Deputy Attorney General Syed Tayyab Shah said he and other lawyers regretted the acts of vandalism by members of the legal fraternity.

When Mian Abdur Rauf, an advocate, assured Justice Athar Minallah that such an incident would never recur, the latter replied that it would only be possible when the elements who took law into their own hands were made an example. “This court expects Bar Council to take action against those involved in this incident,” the CJ hoped.

Similarly, when Mian Abdur Rauf said he would ensure those behind this attack were also identified, Justice Athar Minallah said he strongly disagreed with the opinion that some other elements were also linked to the incident. “These were our own people who brought shame to us and the institution,” he asserted.

He told the lawyers he had some secrets, but he would not share these with anybody.

He further said right at the time when the crowd had gone wild, he had been offered a safe passage by the authorities, but he said he would stay in his chamber.

The lawyers of the federal capital on Monday had forcibly shut down Islamabad High Court and district courts after their chambers were bulldozed by the anti-encroachment staff on late Sunday night.

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