Daily Times : Lawyers, litigants denied entry to district courts

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lawyers, litigants denied entry to district courts

Staff Report | November 7, 2007

RAWALPINDI: The police on Tuesday cordoned off the district courts premises and refused entry to lawyers, litigants and stamp sellers except judges and their staff.

City Police Officer (CPO) Saud Aziz visited the district courts to monitor the situation.

A number of litigants complained that proclamation of emergency had multiplied their woes, as they did not know when the courts would open.

In Islamabad, lawyers boycotted the district courts and staged a protest when police kept them from leaving the court premises.

A small number of Rawalpindi District Bar Association lawyers also joined them. On this occasion, sacked chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry addressed them via mobile phone. “Go to every corner of the country and tell people that it’s time to sacrifice,” Justice Chaudhry told the protesting lawyers.

Rawalpindi District Coordination Officer (DCO) Irfan Elahi told Daily Times that the administration had barred only those lawyers from entering the courts premises who could create ‘trouble’ for the government. He claimed that judges at Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) and some lower courts had heard cases.

A special court adjourned hearing into Rashid Rauf case for November 15. Rauf is a senior figure in the alleged 2006 plot to blow up several airliners originating in the United Kingdom. The DCO urged people to stay calm and assured that the situation would soon normalise. A senior office of Rawalpindi police confided to Daily Times that police would stay at the district courts for five days.

Meanwhile, around 30 to 40 lawyers gathered at a private college in Saddar and raised slogans against the government. After protesting for about 20 minutes they dispersed peacefully.