SHC Reserved the Right against Contempt by Top Police Officials
KARACHI: The tug-of-war between the Pakistan Peoples Party stalwarts and former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has landed the province’s top cops in hot water, with the Sindh High Court (SHC) reserving its verdict in a contempt case against them.
On Friday, the division bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah took up Mirza’s plea for initiating contempt proceedings against Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali, Karachi IG Ghulam Qadir Thebo and other police officials after giving them one last chance to submit their replies.
Former federal law minister Farooq H Naek, representing the IG, contended that the case was not fit to be taken as contempt. “The police deployment around the court building did not mean to obstruct judicial work,” he claimed, referring to the May 23 incident in which Mirza’s supporters and journalists were beaten up by masked commandos. “My client had credible information about the presence of terrorists in the procession that accompanied the former home minister whenever he appeared for hearings.” He added that the entire incident took place outside the SHC premises.
In response, the court asked him why the court police and other agencies were not taken into confidence beforehand if it was an operation. Naek failed, however, to provide a satisfactory reply and requested the bench to accept the police officials’ unconditional apology. “It will not be an unprecedented move if the court pardons them,” he pointed out.
Provincial advocate-general Abdul Fateh Malik, when asked if the case constituted contempt, replied that it did. “Although the submission of an unconditional apology is tantamount to the admission of the offence, the court may take a lenient view,” he said, referring to a case in which an official was fined merely Rs100. The bench, however, observed that if it fined the cops even an amount as small as Rs10, they would lose their jobs.
The bench, after hearing arguments from all sides, reserved its verdict about indicting the police officers till a date that has yet to be decided.
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