ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed his displeasure over the progress of Sonia Naz’s rape case submitted by the Punjab police. He was heading a three-member bench over a suo motu hearing of the case on Friday.
The bench reprimanded the Punjab police for changing their stance on the whereabouts of the accused (retired and serving officers) involved in the rape case. The CJ was astonished that the former Superintendent of Police (SP) Faisalabad Ahmed Raza Tahir, against whom substantial evidence was provided, had been posted as Regional Police Officer (RPO) Lahore. Addressing the Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Police Aslam Tareen over the matter, Chaudhry said, “it is an example of good governance of your province. He has been made RPO to confront the judiciary.”
The AIG apprised the bench that one of the accused, former SP Abdullah Khalid was alive and absconding, but later claimed that he was living in Sheikhupura after retirement. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain wondered how it was possible that a person had been drawing his pension despite absconding.
The bench directed the inspector general police of Punjab to examine the evidence and the report, and proceed to take action against those responsible without being influenced by the current judicial proceedings. The bench also warned the police authorities against any harassment of Sonia Naz.
Naz said that she had moved an application against the acquittal of the accused before the Lahore High Court two years ago, but it was not taken up. The bench also wondered as to why no disciplinary action was taken against the criminals. Narrating her ordeal, she added that she constantly kept on switching residences due to constant threats from her attackers, which also hindered her children from going to school. She blamed the previous government for protecting the accused.
She alleged that her father in law Malik Yousuf, who used to accompany her to previous proceedings, was murdered, while their properties were still in unauthorised possession of the anti-corruption officials. The hearing was adjourned till April 23.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2012.