Lawyers Continue Protesting Against Daska Killings

Angry lawyers attempted to break into the Punjab Assembly Lahore on Tuesday and were successful in setting fire to the shade of the security camp that had been set in front of the gate. The Punjab Assembly has been barricaded from the inside by the police to prevent the protesting lawyers outside from gaining entrance into the building. The barriers placed in front of the Punjab Assembly were broken down by the angry lawyers. The Punjab Assembly was closed last night is unarmed policemen are guarding it as protesters tried to enter it yesterday.

This furor erupted when Shehzad Warraich, the Daska Station House Officer (SHO), opened fire on the lawyers who had been protesting their near the Daska police station on May 25th. This resulted in the deaths of Rana Khalid Abbas, President of the Daska Bar Association and Advocate Irfan Chauhan. Two lawyers Samiullah Malhi and Jahanzeb Shahid were injured. Windows of a police van were smashed by the protesters and they also tore the banners of the ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). A heavy contingent of Rangers had been deployed immediately for dispersing the protestors.

In the meanwhile, rallies were held in different areas of Faisalabad and slogans were chanted against the police by the protesters near the Civil Line police station. The main gate of the Deputy Police Office (DPO) in Gujranwala was also broken down by the aggrieved lawyers. Tire gas was fired by the police at the protestors because they were also hurling stones at the DPO Office in Sialkot. The lawyers demanded that the Daskha SHO be arrested and their protests are increasing in intensity. This means that the law and order situation in Lahore has deteriorated whereas Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister Punjab, said that swift action had been taken by the government regarding the incident.

After a short pause, protests have begun again on Mall Road and GPO Chowk has been blocked for traffic. No police forces have been sent to deal with the situation on Mall Road. As the protests got worse, the policemen on scene deserted their place in order to save themselves. An Elite Forces vehicles at the scene was surrounded by the lawyers and they used sticks for beating the windows in. They had attempted to set it on fire initially. Later on, they managed to turn the vehicle on its side after vandalizing it thoroughly.

A senior bar member said that there was a ‘rebel group’ amongst the lawyers of the Lahore High Court who were refusing to see reason and were continuing violent protests. Protestors nabbed a lone policeman at the scene and beat him because he was ‘spying’ on them. In light of the deteriorating condition of the city and the increasing number of protests held near the MAO College, the Metro Bus stop that goes from the college to Gajjumata has been suspended. The Lahore Bar Association and the Punjab Bar Council had sent out the call for protests after two lawyers were shot dead on Monday.