SC rebukes Pindi deputy commissioner

Justice Azmat Saeed rejects apology tendered by the official

Our Correspondent May 16, 2019
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Rawalpindi deputy commissioner came under strict criticism from the top court over the demolition of a boundary wall of the Girl Guides Association headquarters in the garrison city.

“Mr Deputy Commissioner, you are not eligible for this office, you should find some other work. Your career ends today,” remarked Justice Azmat Saeed while heading a three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday while hearing a contempt of court petition filed by the Girl Guides Association (GGA) against Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and his nephew MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafiq over the demolition of their boundary wall and chopping down trees for creating a make-shift helipad for Prime Minister Imran Khan to land.

At the onset of Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Saeed expressed his displeasure at the Rawalpindi commissioner and deputy commissioner (DC) and inquired whether they could read the court’s verdict issued in English?

He observed that a notice for contempt should be issued to both the officials.

At this, the DC replied that they had not committed any contempt of court because they did not issue orders to demolish any wall.

To this, Justice Saeed asked whether the demolition of the boundary wall of the association’s headquarters was not contempt.

“Did the ghosts do it [demolish the wall]?” he asked.

The DC maintained that they had not given any such orders, adding that the administration of the adjoining hospital may have done so before the hospital’s inauguration.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked why the DC was lying, noting that the assistant commissioner (AC) was present on the site.

The DC maintained he was not in the city on that particular day and that he had sent the AC when he received information that a wall was being demolished.

GGA counsel Ayesha Hamid contended that officials were committing contempt by lying to the court. She argued that the DC had chaired a meeting in which GGA representative Sameena Kausar had participated. She told the DC was shown the apex court’s orders after which the DC had called Railways Minister Ahmed who directed to demolish the wall.

On hearing this, Justice Saeed asked whether the court’s orders were a joke, adding said that the court will ask the Establishment Division to launch a departmental inquiry against the official.

Pleading his innocence, the DC reiterated that he was in Lahore on the day. However, Justice Saeed remarked that Lahore is not located on Mars and maintained that he should be prosecuted for contempt. “You will be sent straight to the Adiyala jail from here,” he added.

The DC tendered an apology before the court, but the court remarked that no apology will be accepted.

Meanwhile, the GGA’ counsel maintained that the wall was demolished on the railway minister’s orders on April 15.

The counsel for the Punjab government countered by stating that the wall was rebuilt within a day while the gas connections to the facility are expected to be completed on Thursday and pleaded the court to show some mercy.

Justice Ahsan asked who did the Punjab government wish to satisfy by defying the court. The commissioner noted that he was fasting and reiterated that no such orders were given.

Justice Saeed, though, brushed aside the explanation, noting that such stories aim to gain the sympathy of the court and should be kept aside.

The court was still hearing the case when the condition of former Attorney General OF Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf, who was in court to attend the proceedings of another case, became unwell owing to which the case was adjourned indefinitely. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2019.

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