SC castigates police in journalists’ case

Orders proper investigation into abduction, harassment of media persons in one-month

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa. PHOTO: FILE


The Supreme Court has declared the police investigation into the abduction and harassment of three senior Islamabad-based journalists unsatisfactory and directed the capital’s police to appoint “competent officers” to carry out the probe.

The court has also directed the police to send footage of the abductions to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency, publish sketches of the people involved in these incidents, set a bounty for them, and submit the investigation report to the court after concluding the probe within one month.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan resumed hearing a suo motu case regarding the abduction and harassment of journalists Matiullah Jan, Asad Toor, and Absar Alam on Monday.

Read SC castigates FIA for harassing journalists

Expressing extreme dissatisfaction over the lack of progress in the Matiullah Jan case, the chief justice summoned SSP Investigation Masood Ahmed Bangash to appear on the rostrum and demanded an explanation.

“Why haven't the abductors been apprehended yet? The recording of the incident is available; why are the culprits not identified?” The SSP Investigation responded that the CCTVs were not operational in the area where the abduction took place. However, the CJ asked him to refrain from telling lies.

“What are you talking about? You are disrespecting the police uniform. The recording [of the abduction] is available, and you're saying there's no recording."

Justice Isa remarked that the incident of Matiullah Jan's abduction took place four years back, but the police have not yet been able to complete its investigation.

The additional attorney general told the court that the matter of Asbar Alam is currently under investigation to determine the specific charges. He said the authorities have contacted spy agencies in the Asad Toor case and sent them sketches of the suspects.

He said the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) could not identify the suspects due to poor quality of the images.

“Thirty-three suspects have been included in this investigation. A request has been made to Interpol for the arrest of the suspects in Asbar Alam's case,” he said.

Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan remarked that the Supreme Court cannot directly investigate any case. “In criminal cases, flawed investigations lead to acquittals years after the lodging of the case. Those wearing police uniforms should have the courage. We want transparent investigations,” he said.

Earlier, the court expressed extreme displeasure when the petitioners who had approached the court for the formation of an umbrella organization for regulating various types of media disowned their petition.

Raja Sher Bilal, Abrar Ahmed, and Muhammad Asif, who hail from Chakwal, appeared in court and took the position that they had never even filed the petition.

CJ Isa asked them how someone could have used their name and residential address without their permission to file a petition on their behalf.

Advocate on Record Syed Rafiqat Hussain Shah said the previous advocate on record through whom the petition was filed has passed away. The court later adjourned for an indefinite period.


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