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Criminal case ordered against AAC for manhandling lawyer

PESHAWAR: A local court on Saturday ordered the registration of a criminal case against an additional assistant commissioner (AAC) and three police officials for ‘manhandling’ a lawyer.

Also, the provincial bar council and the representatives of bureaucrats gave separate calls for strike against each other for Monday (tomorrow).

The controversy, which was caused by the registration of an FIR and the arrest of senior lawyer Syed Ghufranullah Shah from Chitral for allegedly stopping AAC Aftab Ahmad from performing official duty at a filling station on Thursday night, grew as both sides stuck to their respective stands and levelled allegations and counter-allegations against each other.

The lawyers also observed a strike across the province on Saturday on the call of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council, which announced that the boycott of courts would continue on Monday. 

Officers of the Pakistan Administrative Service and Provincial Management Service held a joint meeting and also announced a strike across the province for Monday and said the dignity and self-respect of civil servants should never be allowed to be compromised at any cost.

The participants said it was a matter of concern for them that some segments of the legal community had resorted to the illegal action of attacking the deputy commissioner’s office on Saturday and thus, threatening the life of government officials and creating a law and order situation on the premises.

Copy of FIR registered against Adv Ghufranullah Shah

In the FIR lodged with the police against lawyer Ghufranullah, the AAC insisted that he went to a filling station on the GT Road to look into the complaints about ‘hindrance to fuel supply to motorists’ and as he was busy with his official duty, Ghufranullah, who was also present there, began hurling threats at him and his police guards before attacking them and trying to snatch their weapons.

The Chitrali lawyer was granted bail by a magistrate on Friday. 

His petition seeking orders for the registration of an FIR against AAC Aftab Ahmad, the SHO of Chamkani police station and two police constables Ilyas and Ahmad Shah was accepted by additional district and sessions judge Syed Shaukatullah Shah on Saturday.

The court ruled that the police were under legal obligation to register the FIR of the incident as reported by the petitioner.

Malik Ajmal Khan, Fazal Wahid and scores of other lawyers appeared for Ghufranullah and alleged that the AAC tried to jump the queue of motorists at the filling station to fuel up his official car and tortured their client for objecting to his act.

They added that the lawyer was later taken to the police station, where the ACC got a ‘fabricated’ FIR registered against him. 

Meanwhile, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) held a general body meeting, which was followed by a protest demonstration over the incident.

The participants demanded strict action against the AAC and policemen concerned and the quashing of the FIR against lawyer Ghufranullah. They later staged a street protest.

The deputy commissioner’s office issued a statement rejecting the lawyers’ claim.

It insisted that the AAC went to the filling station to perform an official duty, while a CCTV footage clearly showed his vehicle parked away from the fuel dispenser.

The DC’s office said when the lawyer was arrested for stopping a government servant from performing duty, he scuffled with his police guards and torn his shirt apart to show himself innocent.

It said the protesting lawyers later attacked its premises situated close to the Judicial Complex and threw bricks at the main entrance and CCTV cameras.

The DC’s office added that a request had formally been put up to Peshawar’s commissioner for the registration of an FIR against attackers.

Meanwhile, the KP Bar Council’s general body met here with vice-chairman Mohammad Ali Khan Jadoon in the chair.

The participants condemned the registration of FIRs against lawyers Ghufranullah and Mansehra’s Munir Hussain Laghmani and decided that a lawyers’ convention would be held over a lack of security for legal practitioners.–Dawn

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