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Wednesday Dec 13 2017
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Lawyers not involved in chaos at Multan judicial complex: sessions judge

MULTAN: The district and sessions judge, Chaudhry Ameer Muhammad Khan, believes lawyers were not involved in causing the chaos that erupted in the judicial complex earlier on Wednesday.

While addressing a news conference in Multan later in the day, the district and sessions judge said the incident at the judicial complex should not be stressed over.

He added the new judicial complex building — over which the chaos erupted — has 61 lavatories and 36 water coolers. Besides that, he added, there is a 62-canal land for lawyers’ chambers.

The judge said lawyers show get to work, adding that there is no power which could close the courts.

Ealier in the day, lawyers protested the shifting of the judicial complex and resorted to vandalising the new building.

The lawyers protested outside the old judicial complex at Katcheri Chowk and reached the new complex in buses. Upon reaching the new premises, located on Matital Road, the lawyers stormed into the 55-room building and started vandalising the building.

The enraged lawyers broke the windows and doors of the judges' rooms and courtrooms inside the new judicial complex and chanted slogans. 

The members of the legal fraternity claimed that they were against the decision to shift the judicial complex. The new judicial complex does not have sufficient facilities, according to the protesting lawyers. 

The lawyers also remarked that they had given the relevant officials a month to meet their demands. 

About two hours after the incident, the protesters were dispersed. SSP operations said that the police will not leave the premises till all the protesters have been dispersed.  

Khalid Ashraf, who was leading the protest, said that his group held a peaceful demonstration. The men who vandalised the building belonged to another group, he added. 

Lawyers exercising their democratic right: Sanaullah

When asked about the protest, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News that the lawyers are just exercising their “democratic right.” 

He remarked wittingly that there is a “national census” on staging protests to resolve issues. 

"How can you stop them [lawyers] from following the actions that are accepted on the national level?" He mentioned that this is the precedent that has been set by the Faizabad Interchange protest, which ended after former federal law minister Zahid Hamid handed in his resignation. 

A heavy contingent of police has been deployed outside the complex. Speaking about the role of the police, Sanaullah said that the officers have been "directed to engage them [the protesters] and stop them from damaging property. However, they have been directed to not harm any lawyer."

He shared that the incident hadn’t come to his notice earlier as the lawyers had presented their demands to the judiciary. “We have just taken a notice of this. We will engage the lawyers and try to reach a compromise. If we are not able to do this, then we will approach an arbitrator to resolve the issue.”

Multan's Sessions and District courts were shifted after the inauguration of the new complex on November 15. The new judicial complex had been constructed at Matital Road due to blockage of traffic at the previous place. 

The construction of the judicial complex had started in 2005 on 1,000 acres land after the Asian Development Bank granted a loan under the Access to Justice Programme.

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