It is astonishing and pinching for the Lawyers Community of Islamabad, to hear the unreasonable and teasing decision taken by the Islamabad High Court, in collaboration with District Administration, IBC, Bar Associations and health department to continue the lockdown of District Courts of Islamabad for the month of June, 2020 too due to extreme apprehension of Corona spreading, while the Courts at Punjab and KPK reportedly have started their routine functions.It is also an established fact that lockdown for business centers, shopping malls and trading activities have also been put to an end subject to of course observation of SoPs.
The fear of death and fatal attacks of Corona have targeted only the District Judiciary of Islamabad and helpless Lawyers of Islamabad District.
The honourable Supreme Court has ordered opening of all malls and business activities for seven days a week, as per reports but the Lawyers of Islamabad are still observing lockdown and stay at home policy of the Federal Government.
It is so hard and bad luck for the daily earner professionals to meet their daily needs for the last about three months. All the Lawyers are not well of or millionaire having no affect of forced lockdown. There is severe panic and unrest amongst the Lawyers of Islamabad upon such awkward decision. Neither the Federal Government, District Administration nor the Islamabad Bar Council or Pakistan Bar Council have provided any relief to the Islamabad Lawyers despite hectic efforts and filing of Writ Petition and ICA before IHC. The salaried and privileged class can hardly feel the miseries of non-earning professionals. How the Lawyers meet day to day requirements of themselves and of their dependents in addition to payment of rents, utility bills and household items cannot be adjudged by persons of heavy reserves.
To run and extend the lockdown is no solution to deal the critical situation of pandemic. Policies and measures are to be adopted in such a manner that Court work may not suffer and the Lawyers may earn their livelihood and restart professional activities. Clients and public may be restricted entry to the Courts. Only Lawyers relevant to the case may appear in the Court at given time and schedule. Accused person may only be marked presence and then leave the Court. Evidence/Statements may be filed through affidavits. Documents may be exhibited at the time of cross examination. For cross examination cases may be adjourned for suitable dates. Public and clients may visit the chamber/office of their Counsels.
In a Court and in office/Chamber of a Lawyer not more than Five Persons must gather at a time. Irrelevant persons and public must be restricted entry into Court premises. A judge may administer the cases and schedule of lawyers.
As there are no specific time and date for ending of Corona Virus, hence we have to proceed with appropriate measures and SoPs.
It is a matter of great concern that when due to forced lockdown and stay at home policy of the Government, the livelihood, business and professional activities are badly suffering, as to why the relief and compensation is not being granted the Lawyers Community of Islamabad, while millions of dollars funds have been earmarked and granted by the foreign donors. Why our leaders, IBC, Pakistan Bar Council, honourable Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court and District Administration is not taking steps in this regard and to provide relief for the unearning and deserving Lawyers in this pandemic and painful situation. Any lord, may deny the relief given by the Government,if he so wishes. But the Lawyers as whole need serious consideration and remedy in this painful situation. Every registered Lawyer of Islamabad, must at least be paid Rs.500,000/- in the pandemic situation, to deal with the loans and needs, in their accounts promptly up till now, and to open the Courts with special measures and SoPs.
These are personal opinion and views of the author.
Advocate Ch. Abdur Rahman Nasir Burm, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Candidate for Member Islamabad Bar Council.