250 lawyers booked over Lahore hospital attack

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LAHORE: Punjab Police on Thursday registered two cases against 250 lawyers under various criminal charges for allegedly attacking Pakistan Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and ransacking the property in Lahore a day earlier.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against 200-250 unidentified lawyers on the complaint of an official of the hospital, while another was registered on the complaint of police in which 15 lawyers were nominated.

The cases were registered under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including 322 (qatl-bis-sabab), 452 (trespassing), 353 (assault to deter public servant from performing duty), 354 (assault on woman to outrage her modesty), 148 (rioting with deadly weapon), 395 (dacoity) as well as Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

The provincial capital remained under the grip of fear and chaos as angry lawyers attacked the PIC, leaving three patients dead as riots and vandalism began in and outside the facility.

Punjab Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid later told the media that the casualties took place after doctors were unable to provide the patients timely treatment during their bid to avert the assault.

A group of more than 200 lawyers, who had ongoing issues with the doctors of the PIC, stormed the hospital, vandalised property and damaged dozens of vehicles of visitors. They also set ablaze a police van.

The incident was reportedly triggered by a video clip of some doctors, who had ridiculed the lawyers.

Punjab Information Minister Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, who arrived at the hospital to mediate, was also manhandled by the mob of lawyers.

According to the FIR registered on the complaint of Saqib Shafi Sheikh on behalf of the PIC against leaders of legal fraternity, the administration was informed about the lawyers moving towards the cardiac hospital at around noon on Wednesday.