SCBA expresses concern; calls upon IHC CJ, relevant authorities to initiate immediate and comprehensive investigation

ISLAMABAD:

Senior lawyer and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s lead counsel Sardar Latif Khosa was among 16 other lawyers rescued on Friday from a malfunctioning elevator at the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The incident occurred following Khosa’s appearance in the Toshakhana case against Imran. The lawyers remained trapped inside the elevator for at least 45 minutes before a team of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) rescue officials was called in.

The high court’s administration was accused of not doing anything to get the trapped lawyers out of the elevator.

Moments after the elevator malfunctioned videos of lawyers standing in a cramped space with no lights or fan began doing the rounds on social media.

Lawyers Naeem Haider Panjotha and Ali Ejaz Buttar were also among those trapped inside the elevator. All the people were on their way back from the courtroom of IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq when they got on the lift at the third floor.

It was later revealed that the elevator was possibly overloaded, as it was carrying more people than its designated capacity.

 

It has only been three months to the IHC moving in to its new building.

SCBA expresses concern

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) expressed deep concern following the incident.

In a joint statement, SCBA President Barrister Abid S Zuberi and secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, praised the efforts of the CDA’s emergency services and the lawyers themselves for successfully rescuing those trapped without any harm.

The legal representatives also highlighted the absence of immediate assistance from the IHC staff during the ordeal. This raised eyebrows as elevator malfunctions can often escalate into life-threatening situations, leading to suffocation or other dire consequences.

The lawyers acknowledged that the incident did not result in tragedy this time, but stressed the importance of investigating the malfunction thoroughly.

In their statement, the bar association called upon the chief justice of the IHC and relevant authorities to initiate an immediate and comprehensive investigation. They urged them to determine whether the incident was a “result of negligence or a potential deliberate attempt on the lives and safety of the trapped lawyers”.

Barrister Zuberi and seceratory Shabbir, too, voiced the possibility of sabotage and urged authorities to consider this aspect during the investigation. They stressed the unity of the legal community in the face of hindrances to justice and legal advocacy.

They concluded their statement with a plea for unity and justice. “As a legal community, we must stand united against any attempts to hinder the pursuit of justice and legal advocacy. It is our fervent hope that the investigation will shed light on the true nature of this incident and shall ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future,” it said.

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