People dancing and rejoicing on top of a Police vehicle, as it burns amid the chaos. While, others raise some murderers on their shoulders so they can bask in the ‘glory.’ This may sound like a scene straight out of the movie, The Purge, as astounding as it is, this actually happened when the lawyers stormed the Pakistan Institute of Cardiology(PIC).
The upholders of the law rejoice and dance on top of a Police Mobile they set ablaze.
As the dystopian film’s plot goes, Purge is a one night a year fictional event where, murder and all other crimes are legal. The police and emergency services are unavailable, till day break. Something quite similar to the bleak situation took place in Lahore, except the Purging crowd spared hospitals. The law enforcement that did try to enter the area, were pelted with stones and for several hours this ‘purge’ remained out of control.
Ironically, these murderers, often respectfully referred to as ‘lawyers’, are the very people tasked with resolving conflicts in a civil and peaceful way. Blinded by rage, the obligation to uphold the law was conveniently removed from their conscience, as they ripped cannulas and oxygen masks off patients already fighting for their lives.
The family members of patients try to wheel them outside to safety.
Meanwhile, the information and culture minister, Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan rushed to PIC, in an attempt to settle down the ongoing dispute. Even though he knew the situation had developed in an all out ‘gang war’, the minister did not forsake his duty. As soon as he reached PIC the assault on the minister began. Mr. Chohan’s was held from his hair, as the mob viciously beat him, losing their humanity to their rage. Despite calling out to police for help, no help was provided and the police yet again, assumed the role of a silent spectator.
The brave minister, who only wanted to mediate the issue, had no role in any sort of provocation. While everyone else, seeing this unfold was able to tell right from wrong, the lawyers remained blinded by their self-interest as a fraternity.
The Lawyers mercilessly beating Fayyaz ul Hassan, as he calls for help.
The official reason stated as to why this atrocity took place, was that the lawyers were enraged over a beating a lawyer received by the doctors present at the hospital, when he refused to get in a queue of patients. Allegedly the doctors disseminated a video on social media, showing the beating which further ticked off the lawyers.
The total estimated loss was around Rs. 70 Million, consisting of damage to the main building, medical equipment and the doctors’ vehicles parked outside. Of course, this loss excludes the 5 people that died while this barbaric atrocity was committed by these ‘lawyers’, who even had the audacity to remark that people in hospitals die anyway.
The government was quick to regurgitate justifications for their sheer failure in halting the attack on PIC. These individuals walked up to PIC, in plain sight with a crystal clear motive of committing acts of violence, but our ‘competent’ Punjab police only managed a meek resistance. Some 80 or more lawyers were arrested over the hospital attack while, 46 were remanded in custody. Continuing their anarchy, the ‘lawyers’ called nationwide strikes on December 13, livid at the treatment of their arrest colleagues in Lahore.
Is this Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan?
This is not a lone incident of lawlessness, or disorder. This pure anarchy, this is Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan now. I can’t quite imagine what Mr. Jinnah, who was a lawyer himself, would have felt watching this unfold had he been alive.
To further add to the incident, a member of the Prime Minister’s family was also involved in the protest. Shamelessly chucking stones at the police, PM Khan’s nephew was prominent in footage of the attack, while ‘partaking’ in physical assaults and an arson attack on police vehicles. Unsurprisingly, PM Khan’s nephew, Hassan Khan Niazi, a so called ‘lawyer and human rights activist’ was soon seen being escorted out of the area, but was not arrested like his colleagues.
Was he was freed because he is related to the prime minister, continues to be one of the burning questions as Hassan Nizai is now MIA. (Missing in Action)
Instead of acknowledging the horror that were committed by the lawyers and resolving the disputes, the lawyer has made another grim promise of continuing this blind justice. The courts have been shut down, with the lawyers demanding their colleagues be released without trials and members of the rival ‘gang’ be arrested. This tribalism coming from a profession responsible for upholding the law is depressing to say the least.
Police and Advocates fighting mindlessly outside PIC
However, It is still not too late for our bar councils and bar associations to assume their oaths as officers of the law. It is completely well within the rights of Pakistan Bar Council to demand that any lawyers accused in the PIC incident must be dealt with in accordance with the law, but also be afforded due process and not mistreated in custody. But, warning of dire consequences like terrorists is far from it.
Will the lawyers remain obtuse and not acknowledge the gravity of the situation, and let their tribalism hurt their legitimate claim of mistreatment? No one knows, and honestly not much hope can be derived from the extremist remarks being made by this newly established gang.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The ACE News.
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17 November, 2019