Lahore, October 4: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm at the police brutality against lawyers on court premises in Lahore, which resulted in injuries to many lawyers including female lawyers, and called it “manifestly disproportionate” and “entirely uncalled for”.
A press statement issued by the Commission on Monday said: “HRCP regrets the events of the last few days including what happened at the office of the Lahore High Court chief justice and urges that all allegations of violence by lawyers should be independently probed. But it is impossible to condone the indiscriminate use of violence against lawyers by the police, which was manifestly disproportionate to any perceived provocation, entirely uncalled for and indefensible. Even the Chief Justice of Pakistan has noted the ‘use of excessive force and resorting to high handedness and brutality’ by the police. Arrests of lawyers and institution of cases against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act are quite contrary to legal propriety. They set a dangerous precedent and are not at all the appropriate means to deal with lawyers’ unrest. The government must ensure that the independence and dignity of the legal profession is not ignored while upholding the independence and dignity of the judiciary. Negotiations must remain the primary means, and not the last resort, for resolving all matters. Police must not be allowed to exceed its authority and those who authorised the unwarranted use of force must be held to account.”
Dr Mehdi Hasan