ISLAMABAD: As the gruesome murder of a minor in Kasur still made the headlines across the country, the Supreme Court on Tuesday noted that parliament has yet to legislate on child rights.
“Parliament should have done legislation on child rights after the Tayyaba torture case, but it is unfortunate that the same has yet to be done,” observed Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while heading a three-judge bench conducting suo motu hearing in the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab.
The chief justice said, “There should be institutional dialogue and estrangement between parliament and the judiciary should end.”
“I am ready to meet with parliamentarians on the issue of legal reforms,” he added.
The chief justice urged senior lawyer and veteran parliamentarian Aitzaz Ahsan to play his role in this matter.
Once again the chief justice reiterated that parliament is the supreme constitutional body to legislate laws and added that the court “will not deviate from its powers”.
Earlier, Additional Inspector General (AIG) Punjab Abubakr Khudabaksh appeared before the bench.
The chief justice noted that it was not the first incident as the same was happening since 2005.
“Police should improve its performance,” Justice Saqib noted, saying, “Culprits are being acquitted due to poor investigation.”
The bench also observed that police did not take guidance from judicial decisions, adding that the same mistakes were being made in every case.
The chief justice made it clear that if the Zainab case was not sorted out then it would be the failure of police and the government.
He also asked the police department to give a timeframe regarding arrest of the culprit, adding that the court did not want to see the suspect to be caught and killed in a police encounter.
“If the case is not solved, it will be a failure on part of the government and the police.”
The AIG informed the apex court that the suspect was a serial killer and; therefore, he could not give a timeframe as to when he would be caught, adding that 1,100 people have been interrogated while DNA test of 400 people have also been taken.
The chief justice questioned, “What purpose does millions being spent on advertising Safe City Plan serve?”
The bench also restrained the Lahore High Court from continuing to hear suo motu proceedings in the matter as the high court does not have the power to take suo motu notices.
The court summoned the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) members and chairman of the Forensic lab at Lahore registry on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the same bench has sought legal assistance from the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) for bringing former Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Asif Hashmi back from the UAE. He has been accused of committing massive corruption in the sale and purchase of trust properties.
Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti told the bench that Interpol has refused to accept Pakistan’s plea regarding extradition of Hashmi as “the agency believes that it is a politically-motivated case and there is a need to gather sufficient evidence against him for accepting the plea”.
However, the chief justice made it clear that they want this person in Pakistan. The court was also told that 11 accused have been acquitted by a trial court. “However, an appeal against their acquittal is pending in the high court.”
Ikram Chaudhry, counsel for the ETPB, told the bench that DHA is not complying with the court’s 2013 order to hand 642 residential and 100 commercial plots over to the board.
Earlier, the ETPB gave 1,946 kanals of land to DHA in Lahore for getting residential and commercial plots.
Chaudhry said that DHA had been demanding Rs960 million development charges, which is a violation of the SC’s order. The court asked him to move separate application regarding the board grievances related to the DHA.
The chief justice said, “The DHA has no right to occupy other institutions’ lands,” adding, “If the DHA is found guilty then the Supreme Court itself will pass an order against it for enforcement of fundamental rights.”
The hearing of the case is adjourned till next week.