SHC gives Sindh govt four weeks’ time to amend police laws

Court warns failure to implement its orders may attract contempt proceedings 

Our Correspondent March 14, 2019
Court warns failure to implement its orders may attract contempt proceedings. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected on Wednesday a report filed by the Sindh government about the progress made in amending laws and rules to regulate transfers and postings of officials in the police department.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi and comprising Justice Azizur Rehman, while hearing a contempt of court plea against former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and former chief secretary Rizwan Memon, ordered the provincial government to complete the exercise to change the laws within four weeks.

The contempt of court plea was filed by Karamat Ali after the Sindh government failed to implement the high court's orders to introduce reforms in laws, rules and regulations that govern the transfers, postings and tenures of police officials.

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Rejecting the report submitted on behalf of the Sindh government by the Additional Advocate-General, the court warned that if the judicial orders were not followed, they would initiate contempt of court proceedings. The court was adjourned till April 17.

The petitioner's counsel, Barrister Faisal Siddiqi, argued that the draft police rules have been sent to the cabinet for approval three times. The Sindh government was not complying with the orders for the last one and a half years. If they still haven't been able to make the police laws, they should leave office, said Siddiqi.

The Rangers officials also submitted a report and said that police reforms were the responsibility of the Sindh government, not of Rangers.

Baldia incident

The SHC sought detailed arguments on Wednesday from Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research's (Piler) counsel by April 5 over the non-provision of compensation to the affected families of Baldia factory incident.

A two-member-bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and comprising Justice Agha Faisal, was hearing the pleas in which the petitioner's counsel, Advocate Usman Farooq, argued that the affected families were to be paid Rs1.8m of the fixed compensation amount as a total.

The Sindh government paid only Rs300,000 as the compensation amount even after its negligence towards the labourers. The additional Rs560m haven't been paid despite the announcement made by provincial minister Nasir Shah May 1, 2018. He had said in his announcement that the compensation amount would be paid lump sum to the affected families.

The German textile company paid more than Rs600m to SESSI in 2015. Around 40 affectees died during this time period. The orders should be passed to pay the compensation amount lump sum and not in installments, argued the petitioner. The court sought detailed arguments from Piler's counsel by April 5.

Delay in results

The same bench asked Sindh's universities and boards to submit details of the schedule of semester supplementary examinations on April 9 over the plea filed against the delay in results.

The universities and boards secretary presented a schedule of examinations of different universities in the court. The petitioner's counsel argued that the institutions with semester system do not take the supplementary examination and the students lose an academic year. Around 300,000 students in Sindh lose one academic year due to the delay in the results. The court asked for the details and schedule of supplementary examinations of the semester.

Petitioner Nazeer Ahmed Dhawan said in his petition that the supplementary exams are not taken in the universities of Sindh. The Sindh universities and boards should be restricted to give the results within 120 days and court should pass orders for the supplementary examinations of students who fail.

Illegal land allotment

The SHC on Wednesday expressed its annoyance over the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) director for his lack of information in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar land allotment case.

Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh was hearing the petition relating to the allotment of 404 plots in Gulistan-e-Jauhar's Block 6, which was filed by Waqar, Abdul Latif Brohi and others.

CJ expressed annoyance over NAB Director Tariq Hameed's lack of information. He was directed to leave the courtroom for not providing assistance in the case. Justice Sheikh had asked him to brief the court and show the progress of the investigation made by the NAB. But the director failed to give any satisfactory reply to the court. "If you have no information, then what are you doing in the court? You should leave the court room," said the CJ.

The court asked petitioners and lawyers to submit their replies in the case and directed NAB officials to explain the progress of the investigation in next hearing on March 20.

Road blocks

The same bench ordered the NAB officials on Wednesday to close the inquiry pertaining to blocking of roads during the construction of a school in Hyderabad.

The bench expressed its displeasure with the NAB Director Tariq Hameed and other officials. The CJ asked NAB how could they hear a complaint of this nature and how could they be involved in an issue of blocking a road during the construction of a school.

The NAB prosecutor argued that the complainant had claimed that a school was being constructed on a government plot in Hyderabad and a part of the road was encrached and incoporated unto the school building.

The CJ warned the investigation officer, case officer and NAB director of heavy fines and also directed them to read the NAB Ordinance and mention the relevant section on the basis of which NAB had the authority to entertain such a complaint. Justice Sheikh also said that the NAB director-general should be summoned in this case.

Safoora Goth case

The SHC sought a detailed report from the investigation officer on Wednesday for the retrial of the co-accused in Safoora case in an anti-terrorism court (ATC).

A two-member-bench, comprising Justice Aftab Gorar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, was hearing the plea for the retrial. The investigation officer submitted a report that mentioned that the accused had been released by the court. The counsels for the accused argued that the investigation officer had submitted the supplementary challan just to blackmail, therefore, a detailed report should be sought.

Court sought a detailed report from the investigation officer by April 16 and maintained the order restricting the retrial of the case. The court also restrained police from arresting accused Naeem Sajid and Sultan Qamar. An ATC had issued the arrest warrants of the accused for not appearing in the court. Both were accused of providing weapons to the terrorists involved in the Safoora incident.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2019.