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.
 


Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

Updated 22 September 2020

Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

  • Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of virus standard operating proce­dures and detection of new cases
  • Earlier this month, government announced it would allow the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Tuesday said middle schools across the country would resume regular classes as scheduled from tomorrow, September 23, Radio Pakistan reported, despite coronavirus cases being detected in educational institutes around the country this past week.
Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Authorities started lifting strict curbs in May and last month allowed almost all businesses and the tourism sector to reopen.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani government announced it would be allowing the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15.
All higher educational institutions including universities, intermediate and professional colleges, reopened from September 15, while grades six through eighth grade were to reopen on September 23 and primary schools would resume classes from September 30.
Following the decision of the NCOC to resume middle school classes from Wednesday, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officially announced that classes would start tomorrow. However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said schools in the province would reopen on September 28.
Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of standard operating proce­dures (SOPs) and detection of Covid-19 cases among students, teachers and other staff.
But Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Saturday that a hasty decision to close down schools again would “destroy education.”
“6 months closure deeply affected the students. Decision to open was taken with great care,” he wrote on Twitter. ” Any hasty decision to close will destroy education.”

The education minister of Punjab province, Murad Raas, said on Twitter:
“All Public & Private Schools will be allowed classes 6 through 8 starting September 23rd. It is imperative for everyone to follow SOPs ... All of us have to play our part to make this successful InshAllah.”