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LHC Chief Justice Addresses Strike Culture, Calls for Respect and Adherence to Law

LAHORE: Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Khan of the Lahore High Court (LHC) addressed concerns over the prevailing culture of strikes within the legal community, stating that while the bench seeks to avoid conflict, it takes cooperation from both sides to resolve issues.

His remarks, delivered at the conclusion of a pre-service training course for newly appointed district judges, come amidst ongoing protests against the LHC Chief Justice’s decision to relocate courts from Lower Mall to Model Town, leading to a prolonged strike in Lahore. This strike, lasting 73 days, disrupted court operations, causing inconvenience to litigants and lawyers alike. Tensions escalated recently, resulting in clashes between protesting lawyers and law enforcement, prompting a nationwide legal strike.

Chief Justice Khan emphasized the importance of mutual respect between the bench and the bar, likening it to a “two-way street.” He stressed that while the judiciary seeks to uphold the rule of law, it requires cooperation and respect from all stakeholders. Acknowledging the professionalism of the majority of lawyers, he lamented the impact of strikes on the justice system, noting the significant backlog of cases in the district judiciary, currently standing at approximately 1.4 million.

Despite the challenges, Chief Justice Khan commended the efforts of Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and Supreme Court judges in addressing the strike culture. He urged judges to fulfill their constitutional duties impartially, cautioning against becoming aligned with any external influence.

Emphasizing the sacred duty of administering justice, Chief Justice Khan reminded judges of their divine mandate to uphold fairness and impartiality. He emphasized that the judiciary exists to serve the oppressed and ensure their access to justice, irrespective of power dynamics.

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