Legal fraternity, businessmen slam Islamabad court attack

* LHC CJ says security agencies are supposed to maintain law and order at courts * LHCBA president says Pakistan is at war, demands action against terrorists
Legal fraternity, businessmen slam Islamabad court attack

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has strongly condemned the terrorist attack at the Islamabad sessions court, and said that court premises are a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity for the aggrieved persons and lawyers, and that security agencies are supposed to maintain law and order at courts.
He was addressing to an emergent meeting of the Pakistan Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council, Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Lahore Bar Association, held at Kiyani Hall of the LHCBA on Monday. 
The chief justice said that criticism on the working of security agencies was the right of the masses, but “we should not be violent and hold the law enforcers in low esteem”.
The chief justice strongly condemned the terrorist attack at Islamabad sessions court in which an additional district and sessions judge and a dozen lawyers lost their lives. 
He further observed that the legal fraternity was not alone in the said grief.
It is worth mentioning that it happened for the first time in the history of Lahore High Court that a sitting chief justice joined the bar gathering to condemn the ugly incident. Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Ijazul Ahsan also accompanied the chief justice.
In his address, LHCBA President Shafqat Mahmood Chohan demanded that the government take drastic steps to root out terrorism from the country and bring to book the elements involved in terrorist act in Islamabad. 
He said that Pakistan was at a state of war, as terrorists had besieged our homeland.
He said that the terrorists had always violated ceasefire and the democratic government should cope with them with iron hands. He demanded that the government initiate action against those involved in this act.
Earlier, lawyers in the provincial capital boycotted court proceedings and demonstrated against the tragic incident in Islamabad. The courts proceedings in the Lahore High court, district and sessions court and the civil courts were immediately stopped when the news spread.
Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Ramzan Chaudhry, Supreme Court Bar Association Secretary Asif Cheema and LHCBA President Shafqat Mahmood Chohan said that the lawyers would also observe a mourning day on Tuesday (today) on a call given by the Pakistan Bar Council, besides boycotting the court proceedings.
Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique condemned the attack and demanded establishment of a special force to protect the lives and properties of lawyers, journalists and judge across Pakistan. He demanded immediate release of financial assistance for the heirs of the victims and the injured.
Meanwhile, the business community of Lahore also condemned the suicide attack in Islamabad and urged the government to review security arrangements in all parts of the country.
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Industrial Association and Sunder Industrial Association condemned the attack, terming it a security failure.
LCCI Acting President Mian Tariq Misbah and Vice President Kashif Anwar said that the attack was a well-planned conspiracy to destroy social and economic fabric of the country. “Such acts of terrorism are an ugly attempt to destabilise Pakistan and to create an impression of ‘unsafe country’ in the eyes of the international community.”
The businessmen said the government must evolve a new policy to cope with the menace of terrorism. They said that law and order had already spoiled the country’s image, which needed to be repaired. They said that it was very strange that despite all efforts, the terrorists were attacking the place of their choice and killing innocent people.
LCCI office-bearers said that any further delay in taking a strong stand against terrorists would cause undue damage to the country; therefore, the prime minister, the president and all the chief ministers should sit with politicians and business leaders to evolve a methodology to get rid of this menace.

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