Hospital assault in Lahore: 46 lawyers sent on judicial remand

A lawyer throws a trash bin toward police near a vehicle set on fire outside the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Lahore on Dec. 11, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Updated 12 December 2019

Hospital assault in Lahore: 46 lawyers sent on judicial remand

  • Attackers will not be spared, says the Punjab chief minister
  • Lahore High Court Bar Association vows to act against the culprits, “if they are lawyers”

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court sent 46 lawyers, accused of attacking the biggest cardiac health facility in the country’s eastern province of Punjab, to jail on a 14-day judicial remand on Thursday.
The lawyers were arrested after they targeted the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) on Wednesday to avenge their colleagues who were allegedly roughed up by the PIC staff in November.
The protesters forced their way into the hospital and destroyed medical equipment at the facility.
They also targeted vehicles in the parking area, set a police mobile on fire and terrorized the staff who left their patients unattended and rushed to safety.
Three patients reportedly lost their lives since they did not get medical attention on time.
On Thursday, the arrested lawyers were brought to an anti-terrorism court where the prosecution demanded 15 days of police custody while the defense counsel claimed the accused were innocent and implicated in false cases.
After hearing the arguments, the court announced 14 days of judicial remand and sent the lawyers to jail.
“We are waiting for the government’s response and see how it deals with the issue,” Dr. Salman Hasseb Chaudhary, Secretary General of Grand Health Alliance, told Arab News. “We demand arrest of all culprits who attacked the hospital. It is an act that is not even allowed in a war. The doctors will not go on strike and all facilities will remain open for public,”
The legal community, on the other hand, boycotted courtroom proceedings across the province in response to a call given by the Punjab Bar Council.
In the morning, lawyers gathered at the Kayani Hall of the High Court Bar and strongly condemned the lodging of police complaints against them and the arrest of their fraternity members.
The lawyers formed a joint committee that comprised representatives of the Lahore Bar Association, the Lahore High Court Bar Association, the Punjab Bar Council and the Pakistan Bar Council.
The lawyers’ bodies also demanded an inquiry into the matter.
“The lawyers started the procession from Mall road,” said their press release, “crossed Jail road and reached the PIC but the police did not intervene. They [the police] were silent spectators even when stones were pelted from both sides. It needs a thorough inquiry and we demand judicial inquiry. It is a very unfortunate incident, and we will take action against those who resorted to firing and burnt the police vehicle, if they are lawyers.”
Meanwhile, the Punjab government deployed Rangers after Wednesday’s incident near the PIC and Lahore High Court buildings.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who ordered an inquiry into the incident, directed the provincial authorities to take stern action against all those who were involved in the attack.
“Those responsible for the PIC [incident] would not be spared and taken to task. The law will take its course and an enquiry into the matter has been initiated. The killing of three patients is deplorable,” Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in a statement issued to the foreign media on Thursday.
In another related development, lawyers went to the Lahore High Court and demanded the release of their accused colleagues. Their case has been fixed for tomorrow (Friday), and Justice Anwarul Haq will hear their petition.


Interpol-wanted Pakistani arrested in Indonesia 

Updated 22 January 2020

Interpol-wanted Pakistani arrested in Indonesia 

  • Butt has confessed to killing a family of four in Pakistan
  • He was living under a fake identity in North Sumatra

JAKARTA: A Pakistani national who was on Interpol’s wanted list for nine years has been arrested by Indonesian police in North Sumatra.

According to a press release by the police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob), the 34-year-old man, identified as Muhammad Luqman Butt, alias Husein Shah or M. Firman, was arrested at his rented house in Asahan district on Tuesday.

His Indonesian wife, 33-year-old Evi Lili Midati, has also been detained.

The police said Butt confessed he had murdered four people in Pakistan and has been in Indonesia for the past two years. Some five months ago, he moved to Asahan, not far from the province’s capital of Medan to work as a driver.

The police chief investigator in the province, Andi Rian, said the fugitive was arrested at the request of Pakistan, in coordination with Interpol, local media reported.

“After we identified that the fugitive is in Indonesia, the Interpol national central bureau in Indonesia coordinated with the North Sumatra police to arrest him,” Rian was quoted as saying.

Rian added that Butt will be deported to Pakistan where he would face prosecution.

The police seized from Butt’s house his Indonesian identity card bearing the name M. Firman with his photo, and citing Asahan as his place of birth.

Butt confessed he had murdered a family of four when he was 25 years old. He committed the murder in retaliation for the killing of his brother by one of the victims and had been on the run ever since. Two years ago, he entered Indonesia by sea, on a wooden boat from Malaysia.