KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) ordered on Tuesday the interior ministry, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and provincial home authorities to block the national identity cards of all the accused and suspects whom the prosecuting agencies have shown as absconding from the courts.
The apex court was hearing the Sindh government’s appeal challenging a drug court order to release an accused on bail. A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, was hearing the case at the SC’s Karachi Registry Branch. Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah were the other members of the bench.
In the criminal acquittal appeal, the provincial prosecutor-general said the relevant drug court had granted bail to a man, Shaukat Masih, accused of involvement in manufacturing and sale of spurious medicines.
The prosecutor-general argued that the trial court’s order was not sustainable according to the law, adding that the accused had absconded after his release. He pleaded to the apex court to set aside the trial court’s bail order and direct the authorities concerned to arrest the accused.
Justice Mushir Alam observed that the absconders were making speeches in the public but they were not appearing in the courts. He remarked that those giving lessons to others to respect the courts have been absconders themselves.
The bench members inquired from the police and prosecution officers why the absconder, Masih, had not been tracked down, if they believed that he was acquitted in contravention of the law and evidence.
During the hearing, the apex court’s bench came down hard on the law enforcement and prosecuting agencies in the province. The bench observed that the police arrested anyone they wanted to, but failed to bring the absconder to book.
The SC directed the interior ministry, the NADRA and the home department to ensure that the national identity cards of all such absconders were blocked and their bank accounts frozen at the earliest. The bench also directed the attorney-general and Sindh advocate-general to submit compliance reports to the court.