A group of lawyers attacked an anti-terrorism court in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi whose judge convicted and sentenced to death the assassin of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, reports said today.
The lawyers ransacked the courtroom and broke its windowpanes to protest the judge's decision to give the death sentence to Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the police guard who gunned down Taseer in January for criticizing the country's blasphemy law.
The staff of two anti-terrorism courts in the complex locked all doors to protect themselves during yesterday's attack. Anti-terrorism court No-II Judge Pervez Ali Shah, who delivered the verdict against Qadri on Saturday, was present in his court when the lawyers attacked the complex.
The lawyers forcibly entered the complex and shouted slogans against the verdict. They demanded that the government should immediately transfer Judge Shah.
District Bar Association president Malik Khalid Jawad condemned the incident and told the media that a "particular group of lawyers" was involved in attacking the court.
However, he too said the government should transfer Judge Shah to avert any "serious incident" because the Bar Association could not control "some emotional lawyers".
The judge had not decided Qadri's case on merit or considered certain sections of the law and, therefore, people and lawyers were "becoming emotional", Jawad said.
Hardline Islamic groups have staged protests across the country against the death sentence given to Qadri and warned the government not to execute the verdict.
Qadri is eligible to file an appeal against the sentence, which has to be confirmed by the High Court.
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