ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has asked if Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution – which describes eligibility criteria for an elected representative – can be applied to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for his alleged misuse of authority.
A three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar noted this on Friday while hearing a suo motu case related to summoning and transfer of Pakpattan former district police officer (DPO) Rizwan Umar Gondal.
The controversy sparked last week when Punjab newly elected CM allegedly transferred the DPO Gondal on the complaint of Khawar Maneka, the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife and first lady, Bushra Bibi. The SC later took notice of the incident.
On Friday, the court questioned why Punjab CM interfered in police matters as it made it clear that political interference in police will not be tolerated. It also asked senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan to assist the court in deciding whether the court can disqualify any public representative under Article 62 (1) (f) on the basis of misuse of authority.
The court also directed DPO Rizwan Gondal and Regional Police Officer Shariq Kamal to file affidavits regarding the statements given in the courtroom about the whole affair surrounding the transfer.
The bench also summoned Maneka, Ahsan Jameel Gujjar (husband of Bushra’s friend), principal staff officer (PSO) to Punjab CM, chief staff officer (CSO) to CM, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Col Tariq Faisal and DIG Headquarters Shahzada Sultan on September 3.
The bench also asked Punjab advocate general (AGP) to read all judgements with regard to the law as it referred to Justice Muneeb Akhtar’s judgement related to disqualification of Pervez Musharraf. The verdict said if a public representative abuses power then he cannot be regarded as a Sadiq and Ameen.
Another SC judge, Maqbool Baqir, had also given similar verdict while he was a Sindh High Court judge. The incumbent CJP also elaborated this point related to the disqualification of parliamentarians on the basis of misuse of authority in Jahangir Tareen and Imran Khan disqualification cases.
However, some legal experts say it is yet to be proved whether Punjab CM misused authority as alleged by the former DPO before the bench on Monday. There is a need to record the evidences in this matter.
The legal experts believe that the CJP has referred to Article 62 (1) (f) as a warning for Punjab CM Usman Buzdar, who, they say, will not get disqualified because of this incident.
Submitting supplementary statement before the inquiry officer on August 28, DPO Gondal revealed details of his meeting with Punjab CM on August 24. He said Ahsan Jameel was sitting along with the CM when he was summoned to Lahore. Gondal said he then thought Jameel to be a senior official.
Gondal said he told Punjab CM that after police officials’ altercation with the Manekas at Pakpattan, Manika’s son Ibrahim was invited to the DPO house to redress his grievances but he refused to come.
However, Gondal claimed, it was Jameel who addressed to him in ‘an overbearing manner’ and asked but he did not go to Manika’s residence to offer apologies despite repeated instructions.
“Don’t take this issue lightly. This time we may exercise restraint but the next time things shall go out of control and you all will suffer,” Gondal quoted Jameel as saying.
According to the former DPO despite such an unwarranted tone and selection of words, he and the RPO Sahawa remained composed. He said he told Punjab CM that he would not go to anyone’s dera.
Gondal claimed that he assured a discreet inquiry to examine the conduct of police officials in this case but he did not give application against any official. He also claimed that Manika called a few other police officials and threatened them.
The DPI also presented himself to any kind of questioning and cross questioning in this matter.