RAWALPINDI, Dec 26: A girl, being chased by her relatives for marrying for love, got a lucky break here Wednesday when her pursuers got into a brawl with lawyers, providing the couple the opportunity to flee the Kutchery compound.
A Samaa television channel crew passing by the rowdy scene also got thrashed as the lawyers mistook the crew to be snooping on them.
A young woman of Dhoke Chaudhrian locality of Rawalpindi and a man from Bhakkar in southern Punjab were discussing pre-arrest bail with their lawyer Malik Tahir in his chamber when the woman’s four brothers, accompanied by 30 other relatives, suddenly appeared there. Sensing trouble, an associate of the lawyer bolted the room from inside.
While the relatives agitated for her custody outside the chamber, they learnt that the woman had already recorded her statement under Section 164 of CrPC before a judicial magistrate. She denied the charge in the FIR that her family filed with police on December 12 that her husband had kidnapped her. She stated that she married him on December 7 of her free will.
That infuriated the relatives and they started pelting stones on Malik Tahir’s locked chamber, breaking its windowpanes and the harried couple sheltering inside escaped from the backdoor.
Meanwhile, the violence brought other lawyers to the scene who beat back the attackers.
The lawyers had not finished with the attackers when they spotted Samaa TV reporter Sadaqat Ali and cameraman Zulfiqar Ali and fell upon them too.
“They snatched our camera and beat us up when we resisted,” Sadaqat told Dawn.
“We were coming out from recording interviews of some lawyers in connection with the coming death anniversary of the slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto when the misfortune fell upon us,” he explained.
Other court reporters in the Kutchery arrived at the scene to rescue their two colleagues. As the rumpus grew, the president of the district bar association, Sajid Ilyas, also arrived. He took the mediapersons to his office and expressed his regret over the incident.
Away from the Kutchery, the relatives of the woman expressed their frustration by blocking the busy G.T. Road for a brief period.
Meanwhile, the cause of their pain, the couple, went to the Civil Lines police station to register a complaint against them for hunting and harassing them.
Samaa TV crew also visited the same police station to complain that Sardar Manzar Bashir and 15 other lawyers manhandled them and snatched their camera.
“It is an unfortunate trend that lawyers take to violence,” said Mohammad Ramzan Chaudhry, a member of Pakistan Bar Council when approached for comments.
“Incidents of lawyers attacking mediapersons, police and even judges have risen in the aftermath of their movement for judges’ restoration. Senior lawyers had then overlooked the profession’s code of conduct and started protesting at every level,” he said.
According to him, mostly young lawyers act in aggressive manner.
“Such unbecoming behaviour must be mended through professional training,” the senior lawyer said, adding that bar councils have training plans at district and high court levels.