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.
 


Pakistani PM urges action on Kashmir as UNGA president-elect in Islamabad 

Updated 10 August 2020

Pakistani PM urges action on Kashmir as UNGA president-elect in Islamabad 

  • Khan briefs Volkan Bozkir about “ongoing gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people”
  • Says UN must play ‘rightful role’ in ensuring Kashmiris get right to self-determination under relevant UN resolutions 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday met with the UN General Assembly president-elect who arrived in Islamabad on a two-day visit, urging the United Nations to play its “rightful role” in ensuring the right of self-determination for the people of the disputed Kashmir region. 
The Himalayan region has long been a flashpoint in ties between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan, with both claiming Kashmir in full but ruling it in part. UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a cease-fire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly Muslim Kashmir.
A press release from the PM’s office said Khan briefed Volkan Bozkir about “ongoing gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people and the attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.”
“He stressed that the UN must play its rightful role in addressing the grave situation and ensuring that Kashmiris exercise their right to self-determination promised to them in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the statement said. 
Last August, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped Jammu and Kashmir — India’s only Muslim-majority state — of its special rights and split it into two federally administered territories. The government said the change was necessary to develop the revolt-torn region and integrate it with the rest of India, but it infuriated many Kashmiris as well as neighboring Pakistan.

In a series of tweets, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also welcomed the UNGA president-elect to Pakistan.

Bozkir has been elected as the President of UNGA’s 75th session.
“Pakistan strongly believes in the importance of a multilateral world anchored on the tenants of peace, progress and stability,” Qureshi said. “It is in this spirit, we welcomed @UN General Assembly President Elect @volkan_bozkir to #Pakistan for a constructive and fruitful visit.”
“Pakistan has consistently supported & valued the @UN’s significant role in global affairs and we continue to strengthen bonds within the institution of the UN be it for conflict resolution, peacekeeping, sustainable development, health, economic & social cooperation et al,” the foreign minister added. 
Qureshi said Pakistan reinforced its position of peace and stability in the region, and was pursuing a policy of diplomatic accord globally, as he thanked the UNGA president elect for his visit, which he said was “a manifestation of the UN’s belief in Pakistan’s commitment to a secure and harmonious future.”