KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) turned down on Tuesday the request of Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali to get the incident of the court’s siege investigated by a judge instead of proceeding against him and other officers for contempt of the court's orders.
A division bench, comprising justices Sajjad Ali Shah and Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar, fixed December 15 for the next hearing. At the outset of Tuesday's proceedings, advocates Rasheed A Razvi and Khawaja Shamsul Islam filed their power of attorney on behalf of Major (retd) Saleem and Faisal Basheer.
Justice Shah, who headed the bench, observed that some of the police officers had moved the Supreme Court against the initiation of contempt proceedings against them, but the apex court had upheld the SHC's decision. The bench members remarked that the order of the Supreme Court, which had dismissed the officers' plea, had left no space for the high court to even accept their apologies now. They questioned why the police officer, Faisal Basheer, had not yet filed his affidavit despite the fact that he was directed to do so on the last hearing.
Apologies rejected: SHC decides to indict police IG, 15 others in contempt case
Advocate Farooq H Naek, who represented the IG, said that the court had to frame charges against the officers, but only seven of them were issued show-cause notices. The judges recalled that show-cause notices had already been issued to those officers, who will be indicted in the contempt case. At this, Naek argued that the high court had taken suo motu notice of the incident, which had not taken place within its territorial jurisdictions.
Justice Shah remarked that the incident had taken place at the main entrance of the high court. He clarified, however, that the court had initiated contempt of court proceedings on the application of Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza. The bench members also clarified that the contempt proceedings were not based on personal issues of the judges, adding that it was a matter of the supremacy of the law and constitution.
Encroachment case: SHC issues show-cause notice to Sindh IG
They told the lawyers, who were representing the officers, that lawyers and judges come and go, but the incident related to the supremacy of the Constitution, for which bold decisions had to be taken.
Advocate Rasheed A Razvi requested the court to appoint a judge to investigate the incident, who may submit a report on the findings after examining the whole situation.
The judges told Razvi that the court had given the opportunity twice to the provincial and federal governments to take action against those responsible for the non-compliance of the court's orders, but they had taken no action. Had they (officers) spoken the truth at the time, they said, the court would have passed a different order.
Justice Shah reminded them that the TV channels had broadcast the whole incident for two hours that the high court's building has been besieged, but none of the senior police officers received calls made by the SHC's registrar. They told the lawyers that Faisal Basheer was present on the scene till 4:30pm, but he turned a blind eye to what was happening.
Naek said that the Supreme Court had also accepted apologies tendered by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain. He pleaded the court to also accept the apologies tendered by the IG and other police officers.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2015.
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