Pakistan lawyers strike over arrest of colleagues in assault

Policemen chase lawyers following a clash between lawyers and doctors in Lahore on December 11, 2019. At least three heart patients died on December 11 after a group of lawyers attacked doctors at a cardiac hospital in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, officials and ministers said. (AFP)
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Updated 13 December 2019

Pakistan lawyers strike over arrest of colleagues in assault

  • Authorities raised charges of treason against 250 of the lawyers
  • Lawyers claim they were enraged by alleged misbehavior by some of the doctors

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistani lawyers went on strike Friday, demanding authorities release dozens of their colleagues arrested after storming a hospital this week in the eastern city of Lahore and beating up doctors and medical staff there.
Three patients at the cardiology hospital died when physicians and medics left them unattended for several hours Wednesday to escape the mob of about 500 lawyers who had descended on the facility. Police used tear gas and eventually brought the situation under control but much of the hospital was trashed.
The lawyers claim they were enraged by alleged misbehavior by some of the doctors at the state-owned hospital toward one of their colleagues last month. Authorities on Thursday raised charges of treason against 250 of the lawyers. So far, 80 of those charged have been arrested, police said.
The harsh charges reflect the authorities’ frustration over the violence. The incident drew nationwide condemnation and the government says those linked to the violence will be tried in anti-terrorism courts and that maximum punishment will be sought for them.
The lawyers claim the police took one-sided action against their colleagues.
The Pakistani Bar Council, the country’s main representative body of lawyers, called the strike on Friday, the last day of the workweek in Pakistan. The lawyers said they would consider whether to continue the strike after the weekend.
 


Indian diplomat summoned over misrepresentation of Pakistan’s minority affairs — FO

Updated 19 January 2020

Indian diplomat summoned over misrepresentation of Pakistan’s minority affairs — FO

  • A Sikh man was killed in Peshawar on Jan. 11 on his fiancee’s order, according to police
  • India condemned the killing and claimed it was an attack on minorities in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office summoned a senior Indian diplomat on Saturday over what it sees as New Delhi’s deliberately false portrayal of the state of minority affairs in Pakistan.
“The authorities in India were urged to refrain from feigning concern for minorities elsewhere for narrow political agenda; focus on putting their own house in order,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on Saturday evening.
The Foreign Office move comes after India has condemned the killing of Sikh man Parvender Singh in Peshawar on Jan. 11. 
According to police reports the murder was ordered by Singh’s fiancee over personal reasons.
Singh’s family has since then spoken out in defense of Pakistan, and iterated that they have never received threats in their hometown in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where they have lived for nine decades.
The Indian government has been facing since December last year violent protests over its new citizenship laws, which are widely seen as targeting the country’s Muslim community.