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Several lawyers were arrested in Lahore after a clash with police outside Lahore High Court

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Police arrested several lawyers as their protest intensified at GPO Chowk near Lahore High Court on Wednesday. The lawyers are protesting against the division of civil courts and terrorism cases against their colleagues.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association denied conducting negotiations with the police.

On the other hand, lawyers removed petitioners from the courtroom of Justice Anwar-ul-Haq Pannu.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Faisal Kamran said the police will continue to show restraint but will take action according to the law if lawyers violate it.

“The police are showing maximum patience and restraint,” he said, adding that tear gas was used only after lawyers pelted stones at them.

“One of our SHO and one constable has been injured,” he said.

DIG Operations Faisal has also reached GPO Chowk for negotiations with the lawyers. Munir Bhatti of Lahore High Court Bar Association said the lawyers are demanding the rule of law, justice delivery, and an independent judiciary.

“We will see if there will be negotiations,” he said, demanding the withdrawal of court transfer notices and seven Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) cases.

He also said the lawyers will not return to the high courts without holding a general house session. The lawyers are seated on the steps of the Orange Line station to avoid tear gas shelling by the police.

The metro bus station at GPO Chowk is closed, and traffic flow on Mall Road is severely affected.

Chaos ensued near the provincial high court after lawyers were baton-charged by the police.

The protesting lawyers tried to enter the high court by removing barricades and threw stones at the police.

The police baton-charged and used shelling to disperse the lawyers and blocked their way to the court’s main gate. The police are also using water cannons to stop the lawyers from moving forward.

A heavy contingent of police is deployed at the judges’ gate of Lahore High Court, and two protesting lawyers are arrested.

At least two to three dozen lawyers are peacefully protesting outside the court, while the police have warned them against moving ahead.

The local administration was aware of the protest a day earlier, but no one from the authorities arrived at the spot for talks with the lawyers.

The lawyers insist on entering the court’s premises and are chanting slogans against the police’s obstruction, while judges and other lawyers are present inside the courtrooms, but no work is currently being done.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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