Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought a report from the federal government on the payment of compensation to the families affected by the arson and rioting at Joseph Colony one year ago.
Zaman Masih and others had filed petitions saying that 30 out of 190 affected families were still waiting for compensation announced by then president Asif Ali Zardari.
A counsel for state told the court that verification of the affected families was being processed. He said payment of compensation would be started soon. Justice Ayesha A Malik expressed dismay over the delay and said the government should have honoured the president’s word.
The judge adjourned hearing till the second week of September and directed the counsel to come with a progress report on the matter. The petitioners told the court that the government had announced Rs500,000 compensation for each affected family. They asked the court to direct government to give them the promised compensation.
Still under detention
Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan on Wednesday gave an additional advocate general 24 hours to explain why a mentally ill man was detained under a Maintenance of Public Order after being released from Bagram prison. The judge issued the order after counsel for Justice Project Pakistan told the court that Iftikhar Ahmed was still under detention of the Punjab government at Sahiwal Jail while other detainees of Bagram had been released. On behalf of families of the detainees, the JPP submitted an application about the increasingly deteriorating health of the former Bagram detainee and lack of psychiatric care for him.
JPP’s counsel said Ahmed had been held at Central Jail, Sahiwal for over 60 days without charge or trial.
JPP also submitted a report of a Sahiwal Jail medical officer who acknowledged that Ahmed had a psychiatric illness. Barrister Sarah Belal of the JPP informed the court of concerns for Ahmed’s mental health. She requested for his release so that he may be properly examined and treated.
The judge gave the AAG 24 hours to submit a report explaining why he was still under detention. The case will be heard on Thursday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.