–Two separate cases filed by PIC admin, police implicate rioting lawyers in terrorism cases
–FIR names LBA General Secretary Malik Maqsood Khokhar, Vice President Ijaz Basra and presidential-hopeful Rana Intizar for provoking mob
LAHORE: Punjab Police on Thursday booked over 250 lawyers for their involvement in an attack on government-owned Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), resulting in the death of at least three patients as well as damage to government and private property.
The two separate cases registered at Shadman Police Station were filed by the PIC administration and Punjab Police, implicating the mob, comprising men and women lawyers, in terrorism cases under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) among other charges.
The FIR registered by Saqib Shafi on behalf of PIC include Section 322 (manslaughter), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging their duty),186 (obstructing a public servant in discharge of public functions), 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 337-H (2) (punishment for hurt by rash or negligent act) and 395 (punishment for dacoity) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The complaint nominated Lahore Bar Association (LBA) General Secretary Malik Maqsood Khokhar, Vice President Ijaz Basra and presidential-hopeful Rana Intizar and alleged the said lawyers were involved in provoking the mob to harm the hospital staff.
According to the complainant, he was at his office on Wednesday when the station in-charge informed him via the telephone operator at noon that some 200-250 male and female lawyers were approaching the hospital.
“Approximately half an hour later, 200-250 lawyers, carrying weapons and sticks, forcefully entered the PIC by pushing the large contingent of police posted at the emergency ward gate, which they also broke,” the FIR alleged.
As per the FIR, the lawyers divided into various groups entered the various PIC departments, including the intensive care unit, operation theatre and radiology department, where they tortured the security guards, medical staff and doctors present in the vicinity.
They also broke valuable hospital equipment creating panic among the patients at the hospital and their families. As a result of the destruction, they caused at the hospital, the treatment of patients was suspended which led to the deaths of three patients.
Additionally, doctors’ cars in the parking lot were also damaged. Two security guards posted at the hospital were tortured by the lawyers and after their condition became serious they were shifted to Services Hospital for treatment.
According to the FIR, one group of lawyers also entered and destroyed things inside the nurses’ hospital. The lawyer swore at and harassed the staff. The shirt of the nurses’ hospital in charge was torn and her locket was snatched.
When the situation got out of control, an additional contingent of police arrived at the site and when they attempted to vacate the lawyers from the PIC, some of them started firing. According to the FIR, the incident lasted approximately two hours. It added that information regarding injuries and damaged equipment will be shared later.
The FIR registered on the behalf of the Punjab police by Inspector Intikhab Hussain said implicated around 15 people.
According to the complaint, a group of lawyers approached his police mobile with sticks and weapons “to kill, directly fired on him”. However, his attempt to escape the scene failed and the lawyers surrounded his mobile and started damaging it.
He said that one of the protesters said to set the police vehicle on fire and to kill the police officials, adding that the protesters fired on the police vehicle and set it on fire.
The case was registered on Wednesday under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 290 (public nuisance), 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 353 (assault), 324 (attempt to murder), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc) and 186 (obstructing a public servant in discharge of public functions) of the PPC.
LAWYERS GO ON RAMPAGE:
On Wednesday, at least three patients lost their lives and several others were injured after a mob of disgruntled lawyers stormed the PIC, ransacked the hospital wards and operation theatres and tortured the staff and visitors.
The lawyers were protesting against a video that went viral on social media on Tuesday, in which a doctor is seen narrating an encounter with some lawyers in front of a group.
According to the doctor in the video, a group of lawyers had gone to the inspector general of police and told him to charge “two doctors” under Section 7 of ATA. He narrated that the IG had refused while the lawyers had urged him to press charges, saying “they could save face” that way.