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Widow beaten up at bar says PBC is ignoring her

By Rana Tanveer

‘They are banding together and refusing to entertain my complaint’.

LAHORE: The Punjab Bar Council has refused on Wednesday to entertain the complaint of a widow, who charged a senior lawyer with assault. The incident took place in the High Court Bar premises a few days ago and the bar council has asked the woman to submit a process fee to consider her request.

Complainant Bushra Syeda, 60, said that she had approached the PbBC and the president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) several times to take action against Advocate Nasir Khan Banuzai for beating her. Syeda said that LHCBA president Asghar Ali Gill didn’t even bother to listen to her and PBC officials plainly refused to consider her complaint. “I am told Banuzai was an active supporter of Gill in his presidential election. That is why he won’t take any action against him,” she said.

Syeda said that she had also made a special request to the PbBC’s senior members and its representative in the Judicial Commission, Rai Bashir Ahmed, for submitting her complaint but he had ignored her. “They are trying to deny my story, even though dozens of people witnessed the incident,” she said. The woman said that the officials told her she ought to pay Rs500 processing fee if she her claims were true. “They said that if I didn’t give them the money that would ‘prove’ I was falsely accusing a respected bar member,” she said. “I will get the money and then go back to see if they keep their word,” she added. PbBC’s disciplinary committee member Ashraf Rahi said that they hadn’t refused to entertain the complaint. “Rs500 is the standard process fee for any complaint. We cannot register a claim without it and begin the proceedings,” he said.

In her application, Syeda alleged that on March 26 she was sitting in a chair at the LHCBA compound when Advocate Nasir Khan Banuzai asked her to leave and then beat her for refusing to do so. “I had recently hired him to prosecute a murder case and had paid a Rs35,000 fee but he was not handling the case properly. I came to get my money and documents back from Banuzai but when I refused to leave he beat me,” she said.

Syeda said that Banuzai brought his colleagues Advocate Muhammad Ameen and Advocate Sultan Arshad to the place and beat her with shoes. She said he beat her and insulted her using filthy language in the presence of a large crowd. “Later some senior lawyers intervened and rescued me from him.

She requested that strict action be taken against the lawyer and that her money and documents be returned. Banuzai has also filed an application asking the LHCBA asking for a committee of female lawyers to be set up to absolve him of any wrongdoing in the matter. He claimed the chair belonged to him and was reserved for lawyers but the woman was sitting in it without his permission. He has requested that the bar help him clear his name through a fair inquiry. “The media is trying to paint me in a negative light. All I did was remove a woman from my seat because it was my seat,” he said.

Source: The Express Tribune

Date:3/31/2011

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