Gilgit, May 22: Lawyers in Gilgit scuffled with an Assistant Commissioner today outside the Supreme Appellate Court building when he tried to stop them from entering the court. According to eye-witnesses, the Assistant Commissioner was roughed up by some lawyers who had reached the Appellate Court building to register their protest after staging a demonstration in front of the Chief Court building in Konodas, located across the river.
The lawyers were protesting to demand respect for the judiciary and rule of law.
The lawyers later went to the Jutial Police Station and submitted an application seeking registration of a case against the Assistant Commissioner who, they said, misbehaved with them. Some poeple present at the site reported that the AC ordered the police to open fire to disperse the protesters. This, however, angered the charged lawyers who disarmed the gunman and engaged in a scuffle in which kicks and fists were used freely.
On the other hand, the Assistant Commissioner has said that he was merely performing his duties because he had instructions to not let people inside the court premises. The AC has also reportedly submited an application in the police station requesting registration of FIR against the lawyers.
Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan, Sikandar Sultan Raja, has through a letter restrained the secretaries from talking to the media or calling meetings. The Chief Secretary has said that the court’s verdict is part of the routine activities and it should not be turned into a clash between two institutions. He has taken strong exception to the secretaries’ calling of a meeting. In this letter, copies of which have been sent to the courts, the Chief Secretary has also instructed the bureaucrats to ensure respect for sanctity of the courts and the judges.
Yesterday, the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan had issued un bailable warrants against three secretaries for not following court orders. Show-cause notices were also issued to the Deputy Commissioner and SSP for not arresting the secretaries and presenting them in the court.
The secretaries had approached the Supreme Appellate Court today to challenge the Chief Court’s issuance of warrants; however, the premier court observed that the appeal can only be launched against a decree issued by the Chief Court.