CJ appoints Justice Saqib and Justice Iqbal as heads of commissions

Published: June 20, 2011
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CJ said law ministry wrote a letter to the court for nominating a sitting judge of the SC to head the commission. PHOTO: FILE

CJ said law ministry wrote a letter to the court for nominating a sitting judge of the SC to head the commission. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appointed heads of the judicial commissions, on Monday, formed to investigate the May 2nd Abbottabad raid and journalist Saleem Shahzad’s murder.

Justice Saqib Nisar will reportedly head the Saleem Shahzad murder commission while Justice Javed Iqbal will head the Abbottabad raid commission.

The Supreme Court has informed the Law Ministry about the appointment of the commission heads, while the PFUJ had also sought extension in the scope of inquiry commission’s mandate.

Earlier the Supreme Court on Monday had directed the federal government to form a commission to probe the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the petition filed by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in Islamabad.

The court had disposed of the petition and ordered the government to form a commission.

The chief justice had earlier said he would nominate a judge to head the commission by this evening. He had announced that the law ministry has written a letter to the court for nominating a sitting judge of the SC to head the commission to probe the murder.

The journalists are seeking an extension in the commission’s mandate, saying that the pattern of harassment of journalists should also be investigated as 70 of them have been killed in the recent past.

Updated from print edition (below)

In double climbdown, govt turns to CJ

The government was forced into a double climbdown on Sunday when it fired off a missive as well as a ministerial petition to the apex court chief justice, seeking sitting judicial nominations for separate commissions probing last month’s US raid in Abbottabad and slain journalist Saleem Shahzad’s murder.

“I have received a letter from the government, requesting the chief justice to appoint a judge as head of the independent commission,” Supreme Court registrar Dr Faqir Hussain told The Express Tribune on Sunday. The nominated judge will head the independent commission into the Abbottabad incident.

Separately, the information ministry has also requested the chief justice through the ministry of law and justice to nominate a judge to head the commission which will probe the killing of investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad.

“We have written to the ministry of law to request on its behalf to the chief justice of Pakistan for nomination of a judge to head the commission,” said Information Secretary Taimur Azmat. The government will also submit a copy of the letter to the apex court bench hearing Shahzad’s murder case, he added.

The twin decisions are being seen as further evidence of a government prone to procrastination and ignoring procedures set down instead of  saving  itself from embarrassment.

The letter was drafted by Law Secretary Masood Chishti in consultation with Law and Justice Minister Maula Baksh Chandio. “The chief justice may appoint a judge for heading the commission to investigate the (May 2) Abbottabad incident,” the two-page letter said.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani nominated Justice Javed Iqbal as head of the commission without consulting Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.  Other members were: Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Lt-Gen (retd) Nadeem Ahmad, Abbas Khan, a former inspector-general of police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and former ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

Adopted after a marathon session on May 14, the resolution said: “The joint session of parliament calls upon the government to appoint an independent commission on the Abbottabad operation, fix responsibility and recommend necessary measures to ensure that such an incident does not recur. The composition and modalities of the commission will be settled after consultations between the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition.”

Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jehangir questioned the manner in which the commission was appointed, terming it contrary to the established principles of law.

Justice Javed Iqbal, the second senior-most judge of the apex court, had conditionally accepted his appointment, and reportedly asked for the consent of the chief justice.

The commission set up to investigate killing of Shahzad was embroiled in a similar controversy when Justice Mian Saqib Nisar refused to head the investigations.

Nisar was of the view that he could not agree to the job because the prime minister had not consulted the Supreme Court chief justice in this regard in violation of established judicial norms.

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan tried to justify the government’s move, saying consulting the chief justice was not required for setting up the commission.

She cited the example of Abbottabad probe commission in this regard, where a sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice Javed Iqbal, was appointed head of the commission without prior permission from the chief justice.

However, it has been learnt that the government was considering writing a letter to the chief justice, urging him to appoint a judge to head the commission for investigating Saleem Shahzad’s murder.

The fate of the Abbottabad probe commission still hangs in the balance because one of its nominated members Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G Ibarahim had declined the nomination.

Moreover, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had complained that he was not consulted as it was envisaged by the parliamentary resolution.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Maulana Diesel
    Jun 19, 2011 - 5:10PM

    wow….this is going to reveal information many people do not want the world to know.Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 19, 2011 - 5:44PM

    We are being ruled by a Ping Pong Party….Recommend

  • Malik
    Jun 19, 2011 - 5:58PM

    May be generals and judiciary have come to an understanding. I am very sceptical that full truth will come out.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 19, 2011 - 8:41PM

    Hows that OBL investigation coming? Seems like Pakistan spends all it’s time talking about investigations and little time actually investigating.Recommend

  • Jun 19, 2011 - 10:02PM

    What’s all this broo haha about. Why waste so much time on something that’s said and done. We denied it as it unfolded, we were caught with our pants down, all our denials and hypocritical chants of honour and sovereignty turned out bunch of hot air.

    So we heard people yak about this being a “Saneha.” Not a single person could articulate what the “Saneha” was. What did Pakistan lose that it is all himming and hawing about. Get real people, move on. Get to fix the bigger problems. Without him the world is a bit better place. Period. Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 19, 2011 - 11:31PM

    Whats gonna happen if the comission asked to bring the aggressors to the court for fair trial? how court is going to accomodate this unusual event?Recommend

  • zafar iqbal
    Jun 20, 2011 - 1:30AM

    if the commission finds who actually funded and supported obl support nw in abatobad then can anyone be prosecutedRecommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 20, 2011 - 2:45AM

    If the commission is not empowered the only question of importance then it is useless. Why and how OBL was living so easily and comfortably with his harem in the most secured area?

    The US killing of OBL is not the primary reason but OBL’s presence there was the reason and American attack was a reaction of this shameful act. Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    Jun 20, 2011 - 8:02AM

    Let the Commission be formed. let it investigate.Let it give it’s findings. Let us wait till then.Recommend

  • Kamran
    Jun 20, 2011 - 11:30AM

    My question to the Miss Popularity “Chaudry” saab is that, what has be done as Chief Justice to improve the “administration of justice”?
    Have you managed to reduce the litigation period of the cases?The average is more than 10 years at this moment.
    Have you recommended the parliament to litigate on the matter of “malicious or frivolous litigation”?
    How many Rapists/Murderers/Terrorists have actually been convicted during your time as the Chief Justice? and how many of those have been acquitted?
    What measures have you taken to protect the poor and vulnerable from the powerful, after all law exists in any society to protect the poor!!!

    Are we a bunch of idiots, going Yipeeee because the Chief Justice of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been asked by the government to nominate a freaking Commission?
    Chief sb its high time that you start taking some serious action about your real responsibilities, and stop being such a “veena” or “meera” pouncing at every case which ups your ratings a notch!!!Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Jun 20, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Let the commission procedures take its own course…has anybody seen OBL killed ??…has anybody seen any bullet marks on any wall ( outside & inside )when Obama boasted of taking-in OBL after ” a fierce fight “…?? if it was so the walls must hv bullets mark…?? has anybody observed any such marks from the footages shown on TV…??Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 20, 2011 - 12:27PM

    @Mirza . Should we really believe in that OBL was living there for five years with his wives and he was killed on May2 attack etc. etc. (Obama or CIA’s narrative) …why? how?Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 20, 2011 - 12:39PM

    Just waste of time & money. What will the commission comeout with when all the evidence has been erased? What came out of Shaheed Benazir murder? All evidence has been hosed out, right? Which investigation in our nation`s history has resulted in anything? Lal Masjid episode? Kargil War? When nation is split into two in 1972? PNS? GHQ Attack? OBL? Abbottabad? Marriot Bombing? How many have been captured and convicted in all these killings? All you get is a heart burn, and then ulcers.Recommend

  • sajid
    Jun 20, 2011 - 6:33PM

    ISI kill saleem shahzad.
    very poor.Recommend

  • ChotaShakeel
    Jun 20, 2011 - 8:12PM

    @sajid: I know you indians hate ISI, but let our proceeding go forward. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 20, 2011 - 9:28PM

    @Haider:
    I respect your opinion. Be that as it may, the truth must come out by answering these and all basic questions. I am still waiting for one single statement from the current army and civil officials to deny American “lies”? That is why the truth and nothing but the whole truth must come out, the sooner the better.
    The world has seen President Obama came out and made a short statement of facts as he saw at that time. When would our side do this and give the other side of the picture if there is any? Thanks for being civil in open and honest debate. Regards,
    MirzaRecommend

  • Jun 20, 2011 - 9:58PM

    What on earth is the Chief Justice doing? When the government appoints a Commission he refuses permission to a fellow judge from sitting on it; then he goes on to nominate a judge and wants the government to appoint the Commission. Could he not have shown the magnanimity expected of his office and allowed a judge of his court to head the Commission even if the government was ‘technically’ wrong? The heavens would certainly not have fallen had he done so. And who is the registrar of the Supreme Court to be talking to the Press? How many such statements can we find from the Registrar of the Indian Supreme Court?
    The Chief Justice orders the removal of the I.G. Sindh and the D.G. Rangers without even the courtesy of a hearing, which is a fundamental right of theirs. But when a Commission of prominent persons, including Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd, appointed by the Chief Justice himself holds the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Chief Secretary of Punjab responsible for the beating up of lawyers (after a detailed enquiry) the report is swept under the carpet. Why? One just hates to say this but why step-motherly treatment for anyone connected with Sindh? People might not be saying so openly but these, and many other questions, are in the minds of the people at large and need to be addressed before it is too late.Recommend

  • Achtung Achtung
    Jun 20, 2011 - 10:46PM

    @Malik:
    I have similar feeling. It may work like this: first refusing to head the commission on the chronic delaying pretext: chief was not consulted, Saqib Nisar gave time to ISI, to first erase and then resurface Saleem’s phone calls. Once culprits on the safe side, everything miraculously worked out and commission is formed. Generals and Judges are the unaccountable silce of state machinery and function in cohort.

    If this may not be the case, in refusing to head the commission, judges simply said to themselves: why to miss yet another God given opportunity to embarrass federal government?
    And they unwittingly sold valuable time to culprits.Recommend

  • Achtung Achtung
    Jun 20, 2011 - 11:08PM

    @Haider:
    Did Elvis Presley really die? There are thousands who do not think so.

    What happened to Adolf Hitler in Berlin on that day in year 1945?
    Nobody saw him being killed. Some still believe he is alive and was last seen in Argentina as recently as 2008.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Why can’t the PNS Mehran attack be investigated under SC committee ??Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    Jun 21, 2011 - 7:53AM

    On the Abbotabad Commission; Justuce (R) Fakhruddin Ebrahim and Ms Asma Jahangir have regretted. So who will replace them and when?Recommend

  • Shamashudin Qamar
    Jun 21, 2011 - 7:59AM

    THANK YOU SIR.MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU WITH GREAT HEALTH,VIGOR AND LONG LIFE, AMIN!Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:31PM

    So this commission will look into why and how OBL was hiding in Pakistan, undetected, for 5 years or how the Americans found out?

    I wont be surprised if its the latter.Recommend

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