Pakistan on Thursday leveled "treason" charges against 250 lawyers who were part of a mob that stormed a hospital in the eastern city of Lahore the previous day, kicking and punching doctors and staff and trashing equipment and property, police said. Three patients at the hospital died when physicians and medical staff who fled the mob left them unattended for several hours, officials said. The exceptionally high level of charges reflects the authorities' frustration over the violence. The incident drew nationwide condemnation and the government says those linked to the violence will be tried in anti-terrorism courts and the maximum punishment will be sought for them, the AP reports.
The mob of about 500 lawyers—apparently angered over alleged misbehavior by some of the hospital doctors toward one of their colleagues the month before—stormed the Punjab Institute of Cardiology on Wednesday, punching and beating doctors and other staff. They also smashed windows, doors, and medical equipment at the only government-run heart hospital in the province of Punjab. Police say they had to use tear gas to disperse the mob. The situation took several hours to bring under control. It wasn't immediately clear how many of the charged 250 lawyers are in custody. "We have arrested some lawyers and no one linked to the attack on the hospital will be spared," said Zulfikar Hameed, the city's police chief.
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