Inside the Lahore High Court (1)

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

After having seen huge courtrooms in dramas and movies, I expected the Lahore High Court to be much like that. However I was in for alot of surprises when I entered this place for the first time in my life today. The occasion was the hearing of the YDA (Young Doctors’ Association) case in Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan’s court.

Lahore High Court

Despite the fact that I reached the courtroom as early as 9 AM, it was jam packed. Mostly the audience consisted of young doctors wearing their white overalls whereas lawyers struggled to find a vacant seat in this vibrant crowd. The room itself was a very small one with only 3 rows of chairs at the back for the audience so most of the people were standing shoulder to shoulder in the immense heat of July. In the center was a round table with chairs for the lawyers whose cases were to be heard that day. The table was littered with piles of legal documents and law books. And in the front of this all was the podium on which the Esteemed Judge was to take his place anytime soon. We were all waiting with abated breaths for the case to start. Some of the House Officers sitting with me were from Ganga Ram Hospital and were very vociferous about their support for YDA. Being a Third Year medical student, I probably was the youngest observer in that courtroom. However my spirits were quite high and I was very excited about this little ‘adventure’ of mine.

While we were still discussing the doctors’ strike and the Punjab government’s unprecedented brutal crackdown, suddenly the lawyers sitting in front of us rose up from their seats. As we were quite unaware about the protocol of a courtroom so we were very surprised at this gesture. Then we realized that the Respected Judge had arrived and the lawyers were showing their respect by giving him a standing ovation. Somehow it reminded me of my school days when we used to stand up just like this on the arrival of our teachers to classrooms. But now the scenario was diametrically opposite. The students had been replaced by well-versed solicitors and the teacher was the Judge in whose hands lay the decision of many lives and deaths.

Once the Honorable Judge was seated, the official proceedings started…

To be Continued…

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