Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Pak judiciary

Punjab home secy directed to decide detained JuD leaders representation

report in The News, Sept 8, 2017
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Punjab home secretary to decide by Sept 11 a representation of Jamatud Dawa (Jud) chief Hafiz Saeed and its four other leaders against their detention. Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi passed the order on a writ petition of the JuD leaders challenging their detention orders issued on July 28, 2017, under Section 1 of Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order, 1960, for a period of next 60 days.

Advocate AK Dogar appeared on behalf of the petitioners and stated that there was no evidence whatsoever that the petitioners were planning to spread chaos in the country or that they had planned violent demonstrations. He said the government in the impugned detention orders had only shown apprehension against the petitioners. However, he said, under the law no presumption and assumption could give rise to any apprehension unless it was supported by some piece of evidence. The counsel argued that an order of preventive detention had to satisfy the requirements laid down by the Supreme Court in its many judgments, but in the instant case blatant violation of laws had been committed by the government. He said imprisonment without trial and conviction was prima facie unlawful and unconstitutional.

Advocate Dogar also alleged that the government detained the petitioners to please India and America only as different courts of the country in the past had already declared detention of JuD leaders illegal after government failed to prove its charges. He told the court that a departmental representation against the detention was filed before the home secretary on Aug 3 but no action had been taken so far. He asked the court to set aside the impugned detention orders for being issued without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

A law officer told the court that the home secretary was set to hear the petitioners’ representation on Sept 11. At this, Justice Naqvi adjourned the hearing of the writ petition till Sept 12, directing the home secretary to decide the representation of the petitioners on the given date. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/228546-Punjab-home-secy-directed-to-decide-detained-JuD-leaders-representation

September 8, 2017   No Comments

Benazir verdict: edits

‘Disappointing and Unacceptable’: edit in The Nation, September 01, 2017
The ten year long Benazir Bhutto murder case has come spluttering to an end, and consistent with its botched, influenced and erratic trial process the judgment is equally fragmented. Two police officers – accused of hosing down the crime scene and otherwise impeding investigation – have been handed town 17 year sentences for negligence.

The main accused, former President Pervez Musharraf has been declared a ‘fugitive’ and the seizure of his properties ordered.The five Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) suspects have curiously all been released.

The differing fate of all the parties in this trial only goes to show how partial the process was.The judge hearing the trial was changed eight times and the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) special prosecutor gunned down in 2013 – despite this, and perhaps because of this, the court granted Pervez Musharraf bail, and eventually he was even taken off the Exit Control List, paving his way to a well appointed exile.The court declaring him a fugitive and issuing arrest warrant in his name is a futile exercise now, it might as well scream at the wind to bring him back.Convicting him is a separate issue, the state agencies and the justice system could not even make the former military dictator face trial.

A the moment there is nothing to doubt the legal basis on which this sentence was handed out, but as an exercise of the rule of law, this case has been appalling.

Billawal Bhutto is correct in condemning the outcome as “disappointing and unacceptable”; justice was not done.However he must know that a large part of this trial was conducted while Pakistan People’s Party was in power, with his father – and Benazir’s husband – at the helm.If the prosecution was influenced and intimidated, or the police failed to lay down the basic investigative framework on which the prosecution would be built, then it is also the fault of his party.

Of course, the trial may be over, but the case will probably still continue.The option to appeal the release of the five TTP suspects is being mulled, and Musharraf’s case still hangs in the balance.The convictions for the two police officers have only confirmed the existence of foul play.

The former dictator has boasted about his bravery and his willing to come back and face trial but all that seems like bluster at the moment.Declaring him a fugitive may generate pressure on him, but it seems unlikely it will make him return.Instead we would be listening to a declared fugitive’s comments on national television and interviews to foreign publications.The pressure on the government to muzzle Pervez Musharraf – the way it did Altaf Hussain – will only grow larger.In the absence of providing a free and fair trial, it is the least they can do.http://nation.com.pk/editorials/01-Sep-2017/disappointing-and-unacceptable

A controversial verdict: edit in Dawn, September 1st, 2017

A CATACLYSMIC event in the country’s history appears to have ended with a whimper in court. Nearly a decade since Benazir Bhutto’s tragic assassination, an anti-terrorism court has delivered its questionable verdict in a case that was controversially investigated and prosecuted. Five suspects accused of involvement in the planning and execution of the attack on Bhutto in Rawalpindi on Dec 27, 2007, have been acquitted; two senior police officers responsible for protecting her on that fateful day and, later, securing the site of the attack for evidentiary purposes have been convicted; and former military dictator and then president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has been declared an absconder in the case. It is a thoroughly unsatisfactory conclusion to a case that raised more questions than it purported to answer. While criticism has been directed at the court, the problem originated with a weak prosecution. The possibility that the state may appeal the verdict should be considered seriously, and this time the state should assemble a stronger case that is scrupulously backed up by evidence and the law.

The Bhutto assassination consisted of a number of tragedies wrapped into a single traumatic episode. Surely, a broken criminal judicial and policing system must bear a great deal of the blame for the failure to identify and punish the architects of the former prime minister’s assassination. Similarly, the Musharraf regime ought to be held accountable for appearing to use Bhutto’s security as a negotiating tool in the political deal-making that was being attempted at the time. But there is another inescapable fact: the PPP won power in 2008, manoeuvred Mr Musharraf out of office and then proceeded to do virtually nothing to try and identify and hold accountable the perpetrators of Bhutto’s murder. The party and its sympathisers argue that the responsibility to sustain a nascent transition to democracy forced the PPP government to make unpleasant choices. While that may be true — the Asif Zardari-led PPP was under pressure on many fronts — it is also the case that the PPP itself opted to relegate the murder of its iconic leader to the bottom of its list of governance priorities.

Notions of self-survival and having to make unpleasant compromises tend to characterise politicians’ accounts of their time in office. But Bhutto was no ordinary leader and her death should never have been treated as merely another dark chapter in the history of a country that has seen many such incidents. The PPP government owed it to the nation, its own party and its assassinated leader to identify and prosecute those responsible for her death. The laments of PPP leaders today may be real, but so was their conscious decision to turn their back on their slain leader for the sake of power and public office. It is a heartbreaking disgrace to the memory of one of the country’s greatest leaders.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1355190/a-controversial-verdict

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Benazir`s party remained `disinterested` in murder trial

By Malik Asad in Dawn, Sept 1, 2017
ISLAMABAD: For all their protestadons against the verdict announced by a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court (ATC), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) did not seem to take the slightest interest in the Benazir Bhutto murder trial, and no one from the party turned up to hear the judgment on Thursday.

Benazir Bhutto, who was twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated when terrorists attacked her convoy, as it was leaving the historic Liaquat Bagh after addressing a public meeting on Dec 27, 2007.

After coming to power in the centre following the 2008 general elections, the PPP had ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to re-investigate the murder case, and requested the United Nations to carry out a probe into the tragic incident.

In August 2013, then-PPP secretary general Sardar Latif Khosa filed an applica-tion before the ATC to become party to the murder case, arguing that the party had a right to be a party to the case involving their martyred leader.

The party`s legal team included Barrister Khurram Latif Khosa, Amir Fida Paracha, Barrister Mehmood Chaudhry and Husnain Rind.

The court had turned down the plea, saying that a political party could not become party to a murder case. But in order to remain associated with the trial, Mr Khosa filed another application on behalf of the heirs of PPP activist Tanvir Kaira, who was also killed in the Dec 27, 2007 attack.

Mr Khosa attended few ATC hearings, and when proceeding slowed down, he discontinued pursuing the case altogether. A couple of weeks ago, the ATC had decided to conclude the case and started day-to-day proceedings, but neither Mr Khosa nor any of his associates appeared before the court.

When contacted, PPP Rawalpindi Chapter President Amir Fida Paracha saidthat since the ATC had rejected the party`s requesttojoin proceedings,theypreferred not to attend.

`Why should we appear in a case where we were not a party,` he asked.

Priorities In contrast, the PPP leadership took an active interest in a number of other cases it was not party too either, some of which were being heard alongside the Benazir murder case.

For example, PPP leaders took a keen interestin Panamagate proceedings before the Supreme Court, and attended the final hearings of the case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif quite regularly. PPP was neither a party to the matter, nor a respondent.

Similarly, Mr Khosa appeared as the defence counsel for supermodel Ayyan Ali several times before a special customs and excise court, which is only a few steps f rom the ATC that was hearing the Benazir mur-der case.

Another senior PPP lawyer, former law minister Farooq H. Naek and his associates also appeared before a Rawalpindi accountability court that recently acquitted former president Asif Ali Zardari in the final corruption reference against him.

Even junior PPP lawyers did not attend the final hearings of the Benazir murder case, and there were only around half a dozen lawyers on hand when the ATC made the announcement.

However, they too left court premises upon being told that the decision would be announced at Adiala Jail.

Not a single political worker or lawyer from the PPP`s Lawyers Forum was present outside Adiala Jail when the ATC judge`s reader read out the operative paragraph of the verdict.

Mr Paracha told Dawn that since Mr Khosa was pursuing the case, he would discuss the matter with him. However, Mr Khosa could not be reached for comment, despite repeated attempts.http://epaper.dawn.com/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=01_09_2017_004_007

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Benazir murder case: Bilawal, Bukhtawar, Aseefa, PPP reject verdict

by Asim Yasin in The News, Sept 1, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his sisters Bukhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari and the party rejected the verdict announced by the Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC), Rawalpindi, in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Bilawal Bhutto on Thursday termed the verdict ‘disappointing and unacceptable.’ He took to Twitter to state that the decision was not only unjust but also dangerous and the PPP would explore legal options.

While the daughters of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto — Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari — in their tweets also expressed their reservations about the verdict. “There would be no justice until former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf answered for his crimes,” tweeted Aseefa Bhutto Zardari.

Assefa’s elder sister Bakhtawar also called for the arrest of Pervez Musharraf and she tweeted, “Musharraf ordered crime scene washed and doors locked trapping Benazir Bhutto inside vehicle.”

Meanwhile, the PPP in its formal reaction expressed disappointment and shock over the verdict announced that itwould also employ legal instruments to mount its claim to become a party to the case and file an appeal against the verdict.

“The party believes that justice has not been done, nor it seems to have been done,” said PPP Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar while giving a formal reaction of the PPP after a meeting chaired by former president Asif Ali Zardari here Thursday which was attended by the top PPP leadership after the Anti-Terrorist Court announced its judgment.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the acquittal of al-Qaeda/Taliban terrorists against whom evidence had been provided was most surprising and raised several questions. “On its face, it seems a triumph of al-Qaeda militants,” he said.

The PPP stated that the two police officers had been convicted and sentenced. “But the question as to who had ordered them to wash out the place of occurrence and destroy crucial evidence has not been addressed. The conviction of the police officers will remain weak unless those giving orders to them are also tried and convicted,” Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

The PPP spokesman said it was worth noting that the prosecutor in the case Chaudhry Zulfiqar was assassinated just when he had reached the critical stage and set to oppose the bail application of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

He said it might be noted that the FIR in the case was got registered by the Punjab Police without consulting the family and without making the PPP a party to it.Senator Farhatullah Babar said the party recalled the apprehensions expressed by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir about the plot to assassinate her. It was common knowledge and she had stated it in clear words that Musharraf had threatened her if she returned to Pakistan before the elections, her life would be in danger.

He said since the PPP was not a party to the case, it demanded of the government to immediately file an appeal against the verdict. “The PPP will also employ legal instruments to mount its claim to become a party to the case and file an appeal against the verdict,” he said. He said the party would give a detailed response after full judgment was made public.

Meanwhile, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Secretary General Dr Muhammad Amjad reacting to the ATC verdict said that the judgment did not fulfill the criteria of justice. “The ATC judgment is in contrast to the challan submitted by the investigation, testimonies of witnesses and material evidence. It seems that the judgment is either influenced or compromised. The court even acquitted those persons who confessed their involvement and some of the responsible for the murder of Benazir Bhutto were those who took maximum benefit from this tragedy,” he said.

General (retd) Pervez Musharraf at the time of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was the president of Pakistan and he was not involved in dealing with the trivial district administration or security affairs. Moreover, the allegations related to non-provision of security to Benazir Bhutto were baseless and sheer out of malice, Dr Amjad said.

Pervez Musharraf’s name was not included in the first challan and the PPP government included his name just to soothe the sentiments of party workers and to decrease its ever-increasing embarrassment. At first it was said that the case of Pervez Musharraf had been separated but the way this judgment had been announced showed that it was issued in a hasty manner. Dr Amjad said that they would file an appeal before the high court against this judgment as the superior courts started adjudicating as per law and the Constitution. “We are hopeful to get justice from high court,” he said.

Criticising the ATC judgment, Dr Amjad said that the three out of five accused who were acquitted confessed to their involvement in this murder as facilitator. They told the court that some of their accomplices died while five of them arrested. Dr Amjad said that the arrested persons had nexus with the real culprits and masterminds.With the acquittal of five persons from the court, now the real masterminds of this heinous murder had gone far off and chances for their getting prosecuted minimised. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/227464-Benazir-murder-case-Bilawal-Bukhtawar-Aseefa-PPP-reject-verdict

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Five Taliban acquitted in Benazir murder case: by Khalid Iqbal in The News, Sept 1, 2017

RAWALPINDI: The Judge of Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC), Rawalpindi, Muhammad Asghar Khan, on Thursday while announcing the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto murder case acquitted five accused (Taliban), awarded 17-year imprisonment each to former deputy inspector general (DIG) Saud Aziz and former superintendent of police (SP), Rawal Town, Khurram Shehzad, for abetting the crime, and declared former military dictator Pervez Musharraf an absconder.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs500,000 each on both convicts.The police arrested the former DIG and the former SP from the premises of the court on the occasion as they were on bail.

The court announced the verdict in the Adiala Jail premises under tight security arrangements.In a landmark decision, the court declared former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf an absconder in the case ordering seizure of all his moveable and immovable property.

Five suspects who had been in jail for nine years, including Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah and Abdul Rashid were acquitted on murder charges. The investigation agencies failed to prove a link of the five accused with Baitullah Mehsood, therefore, the court acquitted them.

The two former policemen have been awarded 10 years in prison under Section of 119 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 7 years each under Section of 201 of the PPC. They have also been fined Rs500,000 each; in case they do not pay the fine, they will have to spend another six months in jail.

Saud Aziz, who was the DIG police when the incident happened, had been facing charges of abetting the killing of Benazir Bhutto as he ordered the transfer of then superintendent of police Ashfaq Anwar from Benazir’s rally to Sadiqabad. The prosecution also blamed him for not conducting the autopsy of the deceased as it was essential for investigations.

In November 2008, the ATC indicted Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Abdul Rasheed, Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gul for killing, hatching criminal conspiracy to kill, abetting the perpetrators, using illegal explosive material and spreading terrorism on Dec 27, 2007 when 22 people, including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, were killed in a gun-and-bomb attack in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh, when she was leaving after attending an election rally.

After more than nine years of her assassination and hundreds of hearings, the prosecution failed to link those arrested and the main accused, including former Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a drone strike several years ago.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutors during the media talk said that former DIG Saud Aziz was a facilitator of the crime as he did not provide security to Benazir Bhutto on the occasion. Secondly, he did not allow to conduct the postmortem of Benazir Bhutto’s body, which was in police custody. Thirdly, on the directions of Saud Aziz, police had washed out the crime scene immediately, the prosecutors said.

To a question, the FIA prosecutors said that some of the accused recorded confessional statements according to Section 164 before a magistrate in Benazir murder case. But, in the last moments during the trial, the accused changed their statements and told the court that the police had taken their signature on a plain paper.

As the defence and prosecution completed their arguments here on Wednesday, the ATC, Rawalpindi, Judge Muhammad Asghar Khan reserved the verdict, which was announced on Thursday.

During Wednesday’s hearing, accused Aitzaz Shah’s counsel, Naseer Tanoli, gave his arguments and said that investigation by the FIA was full of flaws, adding that the accused in the case were not even asked why they were arrested.

Giving arguments, the counsel said that Aitzaz Shah was declared a suicide attacker while the seminary administration was not interrogated from where he got training. Tanoli also said that Ismail, who was declared an operator in investigation and had taped Baitullah Mahsood’s call, had fled the court.

The FIA Prosecutor, Chaudhry Azhar, in his arguments, said that the attack was carried out from outside of the vehicle and not from inside, so why interrogate those who were in the vehicle. He also said there were flaws in the dates of arrest of the accused on the part of police and not FIA.

An FIR was registered over the incident on the behalf of the state, following which the murder trial of five suspects began in February 2008. But when the PPP won the general elections in 2008, the investigation was handed over to the FIA.

During Wednesday’s hearing, FIA Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar also said that PPP leader Babar Awan was in Bhutto’s back-up vehicle, which was under the control of party leader Farhatullah Babar and added when the investigation was handed over to the FIA, the vehicle was recovered from Zardari House in Islamabad.

He also said that former president Pervez Musharraf had excused himself from appearing before the court citing death threats from al-Qaeda. “Of the 121 witnesses, only statements of 68 were recorded,” he informed the court further.

While suspects Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat’s counsel Jawad Khalid told the court that the statements received from his clients held Musharraf, among others, responsible for the crime. He also claimed that there was no solid proof against his clients and there was a conflict between investigating officers’ statements and the weapons recovered from the crime scene. “This raises suspicion,” he remarked, adding that the court should show mercy towards the innocent and highlighted that “the real culprits are not being punished for the crime.”

FIA Prosecutor Khawaja Asif accepted that there was no record of the suspects in the DNA report. He also claimed that “Bhutto was targeted for deviating from the US policy” and added that there were no explosives on the suicide jacket that the suspects had submitted for DNA testing. Moreover, the suspect’s DNA report had not been submitted to the court, he said.

On the other hand, the counsel for the other two suspects, former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad, said that nobody could stop a suicide attacker, but it could be investigated who facilitated the attacker.

The counsel pointed out that the statements of those injured in the attack had not yet been recorded, and the post-mortem of the bodies was not done.The court was also informed that out of the three mobile SIMs which were seized, two were not registered in any citizen’s name while the third SIM’s ownership was not investigated.

Pervez Musharraf remained an absconder since the beginning. A separate case was filed against his continuous absence, the trial for which was yet to begin.Meanwhile, after the hearing, talking to media persons FIA Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar said that the police had submitted four challans while three had been submitted by the FIA in Benazir murder case.

Chaudhry Azhar said according to anti-terrorist clause, it was the responsibility of the investigation officer to cordon off the crime scene. He also said the FIR was registered at 8:20pm while the crime scene had been washed two hours before registering the FIR.

He also said there was sufficient evidence against the accused, adding Saud Aziz was a facilitator of the crime as he did not provide security to Benazir Bhutto at that time.The prosecutor said there were 121 witnesses in the case, while the statements of only 68 people were recorded excluding the statement of driver Abdul Rehman.

The counsel for Saud Aziz talking to media persons said that conducting postmortem of the Benazir was not the responsibility of former CPO, adding Zardari had not allowed him to carry out postmortem. He said that prosecution had not told the court why the crime scene had been washed. Saud said that Benazir did not come out the vehicle.

Concluding arguments before the ATC court of Rawalpindi, counsel for FIA Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry stood his grounds that former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharaff was behind the murder of Benazir Bhutoo.

He also rejected evidence of a telephonic conversation between former head of TTP and a cleric in which the chief of banned outfit hailed the terrorist for executing the attack successfully.He claimed that Musharraf through his close aide former director general of the National Crisis Management Cell Brigadier (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema developed the fake evidence to save himself and mislead the investigators.

He also blamed the then DIG Saud Aziz for his involvement in the killing as he ordered transfer of then superintendent of police Ashfaq Anwar from Benazir’s rally to Sadiqabad, adding that Aziz did not conduct autopsy of the deceased essential for investigations. A total of seven judges in different times heard the Benazir murder case in 10 years.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/227462-Five-Taliban-acquitted-in-Benazir-murder-case

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Closure of women crisis centres in KP worst example of governance: SC

Report in The News, Aug 29, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Closure of women crisis centres in KP is the worst example of governance, remarked the Supreme Court on Monday. The apex court ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government to reopen four women crisis centres in the province that were previously closed.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, upheld the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdict and discarded the KP government’s appeal against it.The KP government had appealed to the apex court against the PHC order.The PHC had given the order after women working in the centres had petitioned for the centres’ reopening.

Justice Dost Muhammad remarked that the centres needed to be reopened, as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had taken votes in the name of empowering women in the province but it was now extending them such treatment.

“They boast of being the party with the largest female presence but depriving women of their rights. It is time they did something for women in the province,” he added.Justice Dost Muhammad Khan remarked that reopening of the centres should not be a problem since the government had procured foreign funding for them.It may be mentioned that the KP government had shut the four crisis centres in the year 2010, citing lack of funds.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/226750-Closure-of-women-crisis-centres-in-KP-worst-example-of-governance-SC

August 29, 2017   No Comments

Seeking justice to no avail: edit in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2017

Pakistan’s civil justice ranking on a survey by the World Justice Project and Gallup Pakistan paints a bleak picture and provides justification as to why some citizens are bent on leaving the country or at least embarrassed of their nationality. The green and white ranks 106 out of 113 countries for civil justice and an even more abysmal 109 out of 113 for regulatory enforcement. Although thousands have experienced situations first-hand, the quantification of how poorly the country ranks is flabbergasting. Rankings for criminal justice and government accountability — standing at 81 and 72 out of 113, respectively — although lower, are nothing to gloat about, either. The survey takers consisted of common citizens as well as lawyers — one of the major promoters of a country’s legal system. All stakeholders need to give this statement a deep second thought. Although dramatic change is impossible to achieve in the next few years, effort must be made by all departments a bit at a time. This first means that the current system requires an evaluation to determine how certain parameters must be improved and then instituting a check and balance system to ensure speedy and fair processing of cases.

Jirgas, panchayats and other tribal systems have been consequential and popular because most citizens have little faith in the justice system. This is evidenced by most of the 40 per cent of survey takers who recently experienced a serious dispute making the decision to do nothing about the injustice they faced. Many have no faith in the police, either and it would not be unusual to have been advised by a judge against approaching law enforcement for a case. These are appalling truths about the country that blind patriots ignore and even attempt to defend at times. Instead, considering the incalculable breaches of basic rights, we must move beyond the ‘unity, faith, and discipline’ narrative and adopt a fourth tenet of justice.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1492720/seeking-justice-no-avail/

August 28, 2017   No Comments

SC shows concern over ‘poor output’ of KP police

Report in The Nation, August 24, 2017
ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed concern over the poor performance of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police. The remarks were made by a judge during the hearing of a bail application of an accused Khalid, who had kidnapped a person identified as Basit.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Faez Isa heard the case. The bench accepted the bail on surety of Rs0.1 million. Basit was recovered after two years from Charsadda Hospital. The court was informed that the kidnapee’s father had pardoned the accused in a jirga.

Justice Isa inquired why the kidnapee’s father had pardoned the accused. He further asked whether it was fake case.

Justice Isa said they were observing what sort of cases were being settled in the jirgas, adding; “We don’t accept jirga.” He remarked that the prosecution was not doing its job.

Justice Isa said that there was sentence for filing a fake case, Almighty Allah commanded to speak the truth. He said that the KP police’s performance was “hopeless”. Justice Isa asked whether the police’s job was to register an FIR only, because the FIR was lodged but the investigation was “zero”. The court noted whether the FIR was fake as after two years the kidnapee’s father “pardoned” the accused. The bench observed that the investigation in the case was faulty and that the prosecution lawyer did not prepare the case.
http://nation.com.pk/national/24-Aug-2017/sc-shows-concern-over-poor-output-of-kp-police

Why Punjab judges act like police, asks SC judge:
ISLAMABAD: Justice Dost Muhammad Khan of the Supreme Court has remarked that lower court judges in the Punjab don’t oversee cases in a correct manner and act like police.

He gave this observation while heading a three-member bench that accepted the petition of a murder accused Ghulam Nabi. The accused was arrested for alleged murder of a man during robbery in an area of Gujjar Khan in 2004.

During hearing of the case, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan remarked that jail authorities do not perform their duty of filing appeals for the accused on time, denying them due relief. He remarked that children of the accused also become criminals due to lack of fatherly attention.

Hundreds of accused are in prisons on the matter of Qisas, he remarked. Later, the court sought the record of the accused and adjourned the hearing of the case till date in office.
www.thenews.com.pk/print/225674-Why-Punjab-judges-act-like-police-asks-SC-judge

August 24, 2017   No Comments

Pak: Comments sought over ‘enforced disappearance’ of rights activist

By Jamal Khurshid in The New Delhi, August 22, 2017
Karachi: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers, the Sindh police chief and others on a petition against alleged detention of a civil right activist by law enforcers.

Petitioner Sughra Sario submitted that her spouse, Punhal Khan Sario, a right activist and convener of the Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh, was allegedly picked up law enforcers on August 3 from the Qasimabad area, Hyderabad. A day earlier, he had announced staging a protest rally for recovery of missing persons, she added.

Petitioner’ counsel Rasheed A Razvi said police and other law enforcement agencies were not disclosing whereabouts of Sario. Neither the family had been given details about any case against him, he added.

He requested the court to direct the police and other law enforcement agencies to produce the detainee before the court and provide details of any cases against him. Headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, the SHC’s division bench after preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers and called their comments within two weeks.

The court also directed the federal and provincial law enforcement agencies to file comments on petitions against detention of citizens allegedly by law enforcers. Petitioners Mohammad Ahsan and Darveshan submitted that police and other law enforcement agencies had picked up Abdul Shakoor and Mohammad Pervez Qureshi from Mehmoodabad and Liaquatabad areas and their whereabouts were still unknown.

Appeal against conviction: The SHC issued notices to the Sindh prosecutor general and others on a convict’s appeal against 10-year imprisonment in a terror finance case. Khalid Yosuf Bari was sentenced to 10 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court for financing terrorist and banned outfits.

According to the prosecution, the appellant had provided shelter and funds to outlaws for carrying out terrorist activities. The appellant’s counsel submitted that the trial court had failed to appreciate the evidence in favour of Bari who was implicated in the case merely on the basis of statements given by terror suspect to a joint investigation team.

He argued that the appellant could not be convicted on the basis of statements given by other suspects involved in terrorism cases as per the Qanoon-e-Shahadat law. The lawyer sought acquittal of his client, saying that the prosecution had failed to prove charges against him in the trial court.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/225043-Comments-sought-over-enforced-disappearance-of-rights-activist

ATC to hear Benazir assassination case on daily basis
RAWALPINDI: The anti-terrorism court will hear Benazir Bhutto murder case on daily basis to compete the trial early. ATC judge Mohammad Asghar, who heard Benazir murder case took the decision of daily hearing of the case.

During the hearing, former Rawalpindi city police officer Saud Aziz and former Rawal SP Khurram Shehzad appeared before the ATC. Federal Investigation Agency prosecutor Ch Azhar also presented arguments before the court. The prosecutor will complete his arguments in the hearing today (Tuesday).

The assassination came just weeks before general elections in February 2013 marking the first time that a civilian government completed a full-term in office and handed over power to another. President Musharraf’s government blamed the assassination on the then TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a US drone attack in 2009.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/225131-ATC-to-hear-Benazir-assassination-case-on-daily-basis

August 22, 2017   No Comments

Lawyers mob fury: editorials

Judiciary At A Crossroads: edit in The Nation, August 22, 2017
It is hard for people to see the legal system as the venerable fount of order and justice when the members of the legal community don’t treat it as such.
The scenes outside the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday are despicable – professional lawyers behaving like base goons; vandalising property, clashing with law enforcement and disrupting the proceeding of countless cases.What for? To intimidate the LHC into letting their ringleader – the president of the Multan Bar Association, Sher Zaman Qureshi – off the hook.That’s the rule of law for you.

The logic here is impeccable; the lawyers are destroying property and violently clashing with the judiciary in the hopes of ensuring that the court doesn’t charge one of their own for previously damaging property and violently clashing with the judiciary.Then again, if these gentlemen had learned to use their brains instead of their brawn they might actually be lawyers instead of stick-wielding thugs.

To be fair, we should mention that lawyers clashing with the police are not indicative of the larger legal community; the rest are civilised professionals who recognise the gravity of their duty and perform it with diligence and zeal.These professionals spent no time condemning this violent behaviour and disavowing the perpetrators from the legal fraternity.

However, it is also fair to lay the blame for this situation solely at the legal fraternity’s feet – at the end of the day, this is an internal disciplinary issue, one that should have been solved years ago.The fact that lawyers feel they can gang up and intimidate the judiciary and the opposing party without consequence is a damning failure of the larger legal community.More than journalists on cable news or politicians on podiums – this behaviour in the courts itself is what undermines the authority of the judiciary.If the court can be bullied by their own, why should political parties with millions at their back hesitate?

This is the litmus test for the judiciary, its turning point, its crossroads – undoubtedly a time where a Suo Moto action is warranted.It de-seated the nation’s highest elected representative with authority and appreciation; it has to discipline its own if it is to truly demand respect.

The path forward is simple.Sher Zaman Qureshi – who instigated this ruckus must spend a long time behind bars to ponder his choices.The footage from news cameras is easily available – each and every lawyer taking part in this melee must be recognised, his license rescinded, his law firm fined and charges brought against him. If the judiciary can sternly chasten these goons now it can set a precedent, if it blinks now, it will lose all moral authority it has gained over the years.
http://nation.com.pk/editorials/22-Aug-2017/judiciary-at-a-crossroads

End thuggery by lawyers : EDIT in Daily Times, August 22nd 2017.
The present executive body of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has lost the moral authority to lead the bar after Monday’s incidents at the LHC and the serving president’s subsequent call for a strike on Tuesday (today).

The matter at hand is a contempt of court proceeding against LHCBA Multan chapter president Sher Zaman who was stripped of his licence to practice law during Monday’s proceedings at the High Court. LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah also directed for issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants for Zaman.

Monday’s incident has not been the first involving hooliganism by lawyers’ groups. Lawyers associated with bar associations have been involved in such incidents against different segments of the society including judges and the practice has unfortunately remained unchecked. Neither senior and conscientious lawyers nor their regulating councils across the country have yet taken this abusive behaviour of their colleagues seriously.

This needs to change.

But two developments this month have been a departure from this trend. First, a group of Supreme Court Bar Association members publicly opposed hooliganism and pressed upon the association to dissociate itself from those involved in such activities in Multan. The SCBA has yet to come out with a clear position on the matter but we hope that better sense will prevail and the Apex bar association will side with those supporting rule of law, and not abuse of power by lawyers.

The second development is the police’s response to agitating lawyers at the LHC on Monday. Hooligans among the lawyers’ community have not been taken to task in such a manner by law enforcement agencies under directives from authorities concerned ever since the rightful movement led by lawyers for restoration of the Supreme chief justice.

At this moment, it is important to not lose sight of the underlying principle that governs rule of law in democratic societies. The law expresses the will of the people and that is why its rule has to be supreme. Agencies that enforce law do so in the name of the authority vested in them by people’s representatives to whom these agencies are ultimately accountable. Bar associations exist to promote this system. When those heading these associations start endangering the system through their thuggery, it becomes incumbent for conscientious members and regulators concerned to get into action against the leadership. The Punjab Bar Council should rise to the occasion and not only cancel licences of all those found involved in criminal activities on Monday as well as the earlier events in Multan but also sit down the Apex bar council to review rules for bar associations such that hooliganism discouraged. http://dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/22-Aug-17/end-thuggery-by-lawyers

The lawyers as agitators: edit in Pakistan Todayonline, Aug 21, 2017
The best choice for Sher Zaman Qureshi, President Multan Bar Association, was to appear before the Lahore High Court and apologise for his behaviour. Not only did he fail to turn up, his group resorted to violence, dislodged an iron-grill gate to try to break into the courtroom of the CJ. The attempt was thwarted by the anti-riot police which used tear gas and water cannon to force the protesters out of the court premises. The protesters were demanding that the order to arrest Qureshi be immediately withdrawn and the court proceedings against him terminated.

There are several reasons for the malaise prevailing in a section of the lawyers’ community which frequently resorts to violence. At the level of lower judiciary, the lawyers, judges and the court staff are often linked together in the same chain of corruption. The judges thus lose their stature in the eyes of the lawyers. Members of the higher judiciary have been found to be delivering judgments dictated by the military or civilian rulers. Politicians praise judiciary when it delivers a verdict in their favour but take recourse to the ‘court of the people’ to malign the judges in case of an adverse judgment. The lawyers have developed a sense of power after their successful movement for the restoration of independent judiciary. For quite some time the higher judiciary looked the other way as its black robed soldiers attacked unaccommodating judicial officers in the lower courts.

The lawyers are supposed to argue their case. It is highly inappropriate on their part to attack the courts or beat up policemen. Office bearers of lawyers’ elected bodies have failed to rein in the negative tendencies in their voters for fear of losing their support. There is a need on the part of senior lawyers to intervene to restore the dignity of their profession. Any display of weakness by the High Court in this case, would make judiciary a permanent hostage to lawless elements. What needs to be understood is that unless corruption is eradicated from the courts, the judges will continue to have an image problem.https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/08/21/the-lawyers-as-agitators/

 

August 22, 2017   No Comments