KARACHI: Rejecting the ‘unconditional’ apology tendered by Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali, the Sindh High Court (SHC) decided on Wednesday to proceed against him and 15 other police officials for committing contempt of court on a petition filed by former home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza.
The division bench, comprising justices Sajjad Ali Shah and Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar, directed the provincial chief secretary to submit a report, explaining what action was initiated against the officers involved in besieging the court’s building and torturing Mirza’s supporters and the media personnel on May 23.
The judges ordered this while announcing its judgment, which was earlier reserved, in a packed courtroom. The contempt proceedings were initiated against IG Jamali, Karachi AIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo, West DIG Feroze Shah, SSU incharge Major (retd) Saleem, Legal AIG Faisal Bashir Memon, City SSP Fida Hussain Janwari, Saddar SP Zeeshan Shafiq Siddiqui, former SP Raees Abdul Ghani, West Headquarters SP Tahir Noorani, South DIG Dr Jamil Ahmed and SI Jahangir Mahar.
The former home minister had sought contempt proceedings against the police officers for allegedly flouting the court’s order to provide him security and instead torturing his supporters outside the high court building. He had alleged that, on May 23, the masked and armed policemen had besieged the SHC’s building and brutally tortured his guards and media persons during his appearance before the anti-terrorism court. The policemen had also smashed several parked vehicles and snatched cameras from journalists.
Ordering the Rangers to escort Mirza and his wife to their residence, the court had restrained the police from arresting Mirza or registering new cases against him without the court’s permission.
Meanwhile, initiating the hearing on the contempt application of the estranged Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, the court had ordered the provincial police chief and other police officials to file their affidavits.
On May 28, the judges had deferred, however, framing contempt charges against the chiefs of the provincial and Karachi police and others. Rather, they had directed the chief secretary to submit a report, explaining what action was initiated against Jamali and other police officials for contempt of court in compliance of the court’s earlier directives.
During the course of proceedings, the police officers, including IG Jamali, had submitted their unconditional apologies to the court.
In July, the court had reserved its verdict on Mirza’s plea seeking contempt proceedings against the provincial police for besieging the SHC and anti-terrorism court on May 19 and May 23.
On Wednesday, the judges observed that the alleged contemnors have yet to disclose on whose directions heavy contingent of commandoes along with SSPs from other areas were placed in or around the SHC and that too without taking the registrar into confidence. Announcing their verdict, the judges turned down the unconditional apologies tendered by the police officers. It ruled that contempt charges will be framed against the IG, former Karachi AIG and other officials.
“The events as pleaded and as placed before us, if proved, could inter to be a show of power to please people in power and not only an attempt to arrest and harass the petitioner, who was on bail to settle score, but an attempt to undermine the authority of this court by obstructing the course of justice, lowering its respect and dignity,” said the bench.
Without passing immediate order, the court gave orders to send copies of this order to the provincial chief secretary as well as the secretary of the establishment division to decide whether or not these officers should continue their postings.
The bench directed the chief secretary to submit a report on action initiated by the government against these officers in compliance of the court’s earlier directives. The judges will examine the action report on November 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2015.