Who Authorised Masked Personnel in Plain Clothes - Court demands
KARACHI: While apparently believing that the entire operation of cordoning off the Sindh High Court on the occasion of Dr Zulfikar Mirza’s appearance in court on May 23 was conducted under the command of provincial and city police chiefs, a division bench warned them that action would be taken against them if they failed to disclose the name of the officer who authorised masked personnel in plain clothes on the court’s premises.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who headed the two-judge bench, came down heavily on IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali for his failure to protect the SHC. “We don’t want an IGP who can’t protect courts,” he told the provincial police chief.
“It’s an attack on the high court and it cannot be tolerated,” he snapped and questioned whether the court should call the army when police acted in such a manner.
Justice Shah took a swipe at the IGP when he told the judges that the intent of police was to stop some criminals “armed with latest weapons” from barging into the high court as the provincial police chief on the court’s query remained speechless and could not disclose the name of the commanding officer.
The bench told the IGP that he was lying and remarked “such silence on the part of the chief police officer leaves no doubt in our mind that he is trying to conceal true facts from this Court”.
It went on to observe: “Even if we accept the version of Inspector General of Police that high profile criminals with latest weapons who tried to barge into the High Court premises were arrested from the gate of this Court that too without exchange of firing then as to why Inspector General of Police and Additional IG Police specially, DIG and SSP South instead of taking Registrar of this Court in confidence tried to avoid to be in his contact.”
The judges wrote in their order: “This behaviour of police officers leads us to believe that the entire operation was conducted under the command of Inspector General of Police, as well as Additional IG Police Karachi, DIG and SSP South.”
The judges also recalled that the police on Saturday last did not escort Dr Mirza to his residence despite the court’s order and the Rangers were called for compliance with the court’s order.
“It has to be brought on record that on the day of incident viz. 23-5-2015 from 6:30pm to 7:45pm on our directions all efforts were made to contact Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Inspector General of Police and DIG South, but none was available, even one of the officers of this court was directed to procure the attendance of the in charge of the police who had cordoned off this Court but none appeared.”
The judges ruled that in these circumstances, the conduct and the act not only appeared to be an attempt to obstruct the course of justice but also lowered the process and dignity of this court including non-disclosure of the police officials who participated in such operation by the IGP, Additional IGP Karachi, DIG South, SSP South which was also “contemptuous”.
The bench issued notices to the top police officials to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for obstructing the course of justice and lowering the respect, dignity and process of the court.
They were further directed to file affidavits by 11am on Tuesday (today) detailing the name of each and every officer who participated in such operation after watching the CCTV footage.
“They [respondent police officers] would also disclose the name of the officer who authorised such operation and allowed police in plain clothes with muffled faces, failing which, we will be left with no option but to take action against Mr Ghulam Hyder Jamali, Inspector General of Police, as well as AIGP Karachi, Mr Ghulam Qadir Thebo,” the judges warned.
The chief secretary and home secretary, who appeared on the court’s notice, were also directed to file the point of view of the provincial government and explain on whose direction the SHC was cordoned off and who authorised the policemen in civvies to participate in the operation.
Earlier, Advocate General Abdul Fatah Malik along with Additional AG Barrister Mustafa Mahesar came to the court along with a reply on behalf of the provincial government at 11am. However, the court told him to call all officers, including the chief secretary and the IGP, and ensure their presence at 12.30pm when the bench conducted the proceedings in the courtroom.
Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed appeared on behalf of the media persons who were brutally beaten up by the policemen and requested to join the proceedings to assist the court by pointing out the officer who were involved in abusing their authority.
The bench allowed his request and directed him to provide media coverage to find out the officer/officers who participated in the operation.
Meanwhile, the bench directed the Rangers to continue providing security to Dr Mirza till further order.
The matter would be taken up again at 11am on Tuesday when the IGP and other police officials would also file their affidavits.
Leave a comment
Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.