A timeline of the events that led to lawyers leading mass protests across Punjab province.
The killing of two lawyers by the police in Daska has led to mass protests by lawyers in all major cities of Punjab. Newsweek has tried to put together the sequence of events by talking to various sources. What follows is the gist of events of that fateful day as well as the background to how and why the incident happened.
On May 25, 2015 at around 12:00 noon, a scuffle took place in Daska between the police and some lawyers. The incident resulted in the killing of two lawyers. However, our sources say that the situation was already fraught because of an old rift between the lawyers and Daska police.
Some two weeks ago, a police party had raided the premises of the Tehsil Bar (Daska) to apprehend a proclaimed offender alleged to have been present in the building. Sources reveal that the lawyers resisted the arrest and told the police to not apprehend the PO from the premises of the bar. The issue created tension but was resolved.
The Tehsil Municipal Administration office has been shifted to a new building. Its old building has been occupied by some lawyers. The TMA wanted to re-occupy the building. This move was resisted by the lawyers. The TMA staff called for the police. The police tried to settle the issue but the lawyers, according to witnesses, misbehaved with the police personnel. The issue was again settled but tension continued to linger.
We now flash forward to May 25. On that day, the president of the Bar, Rana Khalid along with a client, Samiullah Advocate and Sarfraz Sahi Advocate, went to the TMA offices to register the birth certificate of his client. The TMA staff refused to register the birth since his Nikah Nama (marriage certificate) was not registered with the TMA.
This led to hot words and a scuffle broke out between the lawyers and the TMA staff. A TMA clerk, Ch. Farooq, was beaten up by the lawyers. Ch. Farooq called the city Daska police station, located about 50 meters from the TMA office. The Station House Officer of City police station sent a bike patrol of two personnel to defuse and control the situation.
The policemen sent by the SHO could not handle the situation and informed the station whereupon the SHO himself went to the site. Sources say that Rana Khalid and his friends exchanged hot words with the SHO and also manhandled him. The SHO was later followed into the station by the lawyers.
The SHO, in order to disperse the lawyers, took his gunman’s weapon and fired an aerial burst. Upon this Advocate Irfan Chauhan abused the SHO and challenged him to fire straight at the lawyers instead of firing in the air.
This enraged the SHO who then fired straight at the lawyers, injuring three of them, as also a passerby, named Khurram. Later, Advocates Rana Khalid and Irfan Chauhan succumbed to their injuries while the other two injured were brought to Civil Hospital, Gujranwala.
Haider is editor of national-security affairs at Capital TV. He was a Ford Scholar at the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. He tweets @ejazhaider