KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the provincial government on Tuesday to finalise laws for police reform by May 21. A two-member bench comprising Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Mahmood A Khan heard the contempt of court plea pertaining to non-compliance with judicial orders to make reforms in the police department.
Sindh advocate-general Salman Talibuddin maintained that the bill for restoration of Police Order 2002 has already been presented in the Sindh Assembly.
"What is happening in the assembly except arguments to undermine each other. It's been three months but judicial orders aren't being complied with. Who is causing hurdles?" remarked Justice Rizvi.
Talibuddin said that the bill is expected to be passed in the assembly soon. The court should give more time, he argued.
The court remarked that newspapers were publishing reports about differences between the opposition and the government on the proposed law. Petitioner Karamat Ali argued that the Sindh government wants to frame a set of rules according to its own choice for the appointments, transfers, postings and promotions of police officials in the proposed law.
The SHC ordered the parties involved to ensure their presence on the next hearing of the case relating to increase in street crime.
Korangi SSP submitted a report before a two-member bench comprising Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito.
The court expressed annoyance with other deputy inspector-generals (DIGs) for not submitting their replies. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also assured in the previous hearing that their reply would be submitted but the FIA representative was absent on Tuesday's hearing.
The court adjourned hearing till June 16 and directed all parties to ensure their presence on the next hearing. Justice Gorar remarked that it seems like street crimes would never end if the condition of police remains the same.
Muzammil Mumtaz Mayo maintained in his petition that the criminals moved about freely in the city with their weapons. The police have failed to take any action against them. Street crimes are increasing in the city again, as are incidents of mobile snatching, stated the plea. The DIGs should be asked to inform the court about the number of cases registered in the city and mobile phone companies should be approached to ascertain the actual number of mobile snatching incidents, argued the petitioner. The Supreme Court has also passed orders in this regard in a case pertaining to unrest in Karachi, it maintained. The chief secretary, home secretary, inspector-general of police (IGP), Rangers director-general, DIGs, Citizens Police Liasion Committee (CPLC) chief and others have been nominated as parties in the plea.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Ahmed Ali Shaikh and Justice Omar Sial heard the petition of former federal ports and shipping minister Kamran Michael against his arrest in an inquiry pertaining to illegal allotments in Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Cooperative Housing Society.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor pleaded the court to reschedule the hearing and take up the plea after Ramazan.
"NAB is collecting information about some of the bank accounts of the accused, which might take time," said the prosecutor.
"You [prosecutor] would soon come to know how complicated it is to survive in prison if you had to stay there for a week," said CJ Shaikh to NAB prosecutor. The hearing was adjourned till May 21.
Michael, minister for ports and shipping from 2013 to 2016 and Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leader, is accused of illegally allotting three commercial and residential apartment plots at prime locations of KPT Cooperative Housing Society to his favourite persons.
NAB chairperson ordered an inquiry against Michael in January 2018 for alleged misuse of authority.
*With additional input from PPI
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2019.
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