Lawyers play most important role in the society and help in dispensation of justice and generally fight against injustice and cruelty. The Advocate is called as an Officer of the Court. Bench (comprising Judges) and the Bar (comprising Lawyers) are exemplified as two wheels of train of justice which are inseparable and cannot achieve the goal of justice without aid and assistance of each other. So the Lawyers are indispensable towards judicial system and advancement of justice in the society. Lawyers are the experts and researchers of their cases and none else is more aware or comprehend his brief than the engaged Lawyer.
Lawyers have been playing vital role not only in dispensation of justice rather maintaining and upholding the democratic norms in the Country. Lawyers, draft the rules, Acts, Ordinances and the Constitution and provide legal framework to the people of Pakistan. They Work as Lawyers, Law Officers, Legal Advisors, Solicitors, Draftsmen and Attorneys. All the Judges are basically Lawyers and law graduates. After retirement or resignation the Judges join the Bars as Members and perform as Lawyers or Advisors.
Despite prominent and undeniable role of Lawyers in the Society, they have always been pushed to wall. Neither their elegant role has been duly recognized nor they have been awarded due respect and reward for their services being rendered for the public.
The practicing Lawyers are unsalaried and what they earn on daily basis sufficely meet their life requirements. The Lawyers are deprived of housing facility from the Government. They are not facilitated in payment of their utility bills by the Government. There are no Lawyers Colonies in Pakistan duly accommodating the Lawyers on low cost basis. Lawyers are not granted pensionary benefits at retiring age, if any one of them is unable to further practice or does not intend to carry it on. There are no specific packages or funds for a Lawyer, if he becomes incapacitated to continue daily practice, becomes ill or handicapped due to any accident or ailment. At least one crore (One hundred thousands rupees) along with free medical check up and treatment of his own and all of his family members as to the ranked Gazetted officers must be awarded. All Lawyers must be insured and they must be paid insurance benefits. When we analysis the Judges and the Lawyers, they are not equal in facilities and benefits. Judges are paid salary in Lacs, they are provided housing facility by the Government, conveyance facility, drivers and utility bills are paid by the Government. Judges are not charged against theses facilities, hence they enjoy pay and perks and air conditioned atmosphere at home and Court at public expense. Medical and travel facilities are in addition. They are also paid pensions from public exchequer. Analysing the two wheels of justice train, it appears that one wheel is extra aired and the second is punctured and is not even cured for years. How the judicial system can be improved without improving the condition of Lawyers.
Government and the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan must recommend and resolve the issues and Lawyers must be uplifted from the miseries and panic.
Measures are to be adopted that a Lawyer is provided free accommodation along with free utility services by the Government or be paid rental values. On being incapable of performing legal services be paid handful amount for sustaining his life and of kids. Pensionary benefits must be extended to the Lawyers, as proposed or granted by the Indian Government. There must be at least 20% Lawyers Quota in all Government, semi-Govt. or private residential schemes. 25% Lawyers’ sons quota in all Law Colleges and Universities must be acknowledged against which Lawyers sons must be accommodated. Free medical facilities in dignified manners must be sanctioned in private and public hospitals to the Lawyers and their families. Every registered Lawyer must be paid reasonable judicial services/legal services allowance/ scholarship, honorarium or remuneration equivalent to half of monthly salary of a Gazetted Government Officer of BS-17 or BS-18.
In the present pandemic situation the Lawyers have totally been ignored and neglected from any kind of relief package, which is injustice to the Lawyers Community while Traders and other small medium entrepreneur have been accommodated. Despite billions of rupees funds granted by the foreign donors, nothing relief package has been extended to the Lawyers who earn livelihood on daily basis and they have also badly suffered in this pandemic and forced lockdown. Courts are also not inclined to grant any relief to the Lawyers as they perhaps now are unaware of the hardships of the Lawyers.
Lawyers have been fighting for others and have sacrificed their lives for the cause of justice, rule of Law or independence of judiciary but now they have to fight and struggle for their own rights and dignity of profession, as the Lawyers are eligible and entitled for equal treatment and compensation.
By: Advocate Ch. Abdur Rahman Nasir, Islamabad, Pakistan. A Candidate for Member Islamabad Bar Council.