PESHAWAR: The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar, on Thursday observed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has made a lot of claims about its performance, but the change is not visible.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan insuo moto cases about lack of health, education facilities and provision of clean drinking water expressed surprise over the claims of the provincial government to bring about a revolution in these sectors in its five year term. A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar at Peshawar Registry Branch directed the KP government to submit detailed replies about provision of clean drinking water, improvement in education and health sectors, population control and hospitals waste dumping. The other two judges in the bench were Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah.
The bench summoned KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, chief secretary, provincial police chief, secretary Health and other heads of the departments in the court."We have to work for the betterment of the people. Lahore and Karachi have been held accountable for non-provision of fundamental facilities of clean drinking water, health and education facilities. What have you done since you came into power?" the chief justice asked Pervaiz Khattak.
To a question about the establishment of new hospitals in the province, the chief minister replied that the provincial government has utilised funds for the improvement of the old structure of the hospitals and facilities instead of establishing new hospitals."When our government came into power, the condition of the province's hospitals and schools was very bad," the KP chief minister said. However, the chief justice expressed surprise over the government's reply in the negative about the establishment of new hospitals in the province.
The chief justice asked the chief ministerwhy new hospitals were not established as five-year time was enough for a government.Pervaiz Khattak said the KP government realised that instead of constructing new structures, funds should be spent on providing facilities and improving hospitals. He said the government provided enough funds for the improvement of hospitals and schools in the province on an annual basis and improved both the health and education sectors.
The chief justice replied his realisation of the condition and situation of the hospitals after his visit to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) is totally different. "We have heard about the unprecedented claims about revolution in the health sector. But, here we observed nothing about the claims," the chief justice told the chief minister.
Explaining the government's performance in the education sector, Pervaiz Khattak informed the bench that when the government took charge in 2013, the schools were in terrible condition. The chief minister said the government allocated huge funds for ensuring missing facilities at the schools instead of establishing new ones. He said 27,000 teachers were appointed. He said for the first time the PTI-led government started English medium courses in the public sector schools.
The chief justice asked the chief minister about the treatment plant for recyclingthe waste. He questioned if clean drinking water is being provided to the people. He questionedwhether tap and tube-wells water in the city are safe for human consumption.The chief minister replied that the drinking water condition of his province is better than other provinces of the country. But, the chief justice showed dissatisfaction over the tap water tests by the KP Food Authority laboratory. He said the water samples should be sent to the Punjab laboratories for test. When the court asked about the figures from the chief minister, he replied that his duty is to form policy and rules. " The sanctity of the vote is respected by working," the chief justice said to the chief minister. Pervaiz Khattak saidhis government is satisfied with the performance and results would be visible after three to five years in the province.
However, in the court, he informed the bench that it is the history of the province that the people did not elect government for a second consecutive term but his government is confident to be elected for the the people did not elect government for second consecutive term but his government was confident to be elected for a second term on the basis of its performance.
About the claim about construction of small dams, the chief secretary shifted responsibility to the federal government. He informed the bench that KP was producing 75MW electricity. However, he said the federal government was creating hurdles to construction of small dams as funds were not being released to the province.
The bench put on notice the provincial and federal government to submit reply within two weeks in the case related construction of small dams.
Justice Saqib Nisar also took notice of the Army Public School (APS) carnage and sought replies from the provincial and federal governments.
A three-member bench comprising Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah took notice of the applications by parents including mothers of the APS martyrs, seeking judicial inquiry into the carnage.
The bench also ordered to shift all the APS-related cases, pending before the Peshawar High Court (PHC), to the Supreme Court.
Moving scenes were witnessed in the courtroom when the mothers of the martyrs of APS narrated their stories to the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
The mothers said in the applications three and a half years had passed but they were still seeking justice for the brutal killing of their children. The parents requested the chief justice to first constitute a judicial inquiry and then award strict punishment to those responsible for the APS carnage.
When the chief justice asked from the chief secretary about the parents’ complaints, he informed the bench that they had been demanding judicial inquiry into the APS carnage from the day one.
The chief justice, during hearing, assured justice to the parents of the APS martyrs and sought two weeks for preparation in the case.Earlier, parents of the APS children staged a protest outside the Peshawar Registry of the Supreme Court, and sought justice from the chief justice.
Separately, the Supreme Court also took notice of erecting of barricades on roads in the Peshawar Cantonment and other places in the name of security and sought reply from the provincial government.
The bench took notice on an application of a citizen. The applicant praised the chief justice for removing barricades from the roads in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. He requested the court to order removal of all barricades in the city as citizens were being harassed and insulted on the checkposts.
However, the chief secretary of the province requested the court that he would brief the bench in chamber about the barricades issue in the city.The bench accepted his request and asked him to submit report and he would be heard in the chamber. The bench, however, rejected an application of a citizen against the Bus Rapid Transit project in the city.Meanwhile, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said that he could not fix the whole judiciary alone as there is an urgent need of updating the laws to reduce the backlog of cases.
“I cannot make a law. I can only implement the law,” the chief justice said.Without naming the executive, he said that it was the responsibility of others to update and amend the laws of 1801, 1872 and 1908 in the country to safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens as only on oral agreements women are being deprived of inheritance.
However, he said, “First we have to bring in order our own house as there are complaints about delay in decisions in the cases.”
In his address to members of KP Bar Council, members of Pakistan Bar Council from KP and presidents of all bar associations of the province at the PHC conference room, the chief justice said no compromise would be made on provision of fundamental rights to the people. The chief justice stressed that it was the duty of judges to dispense justice without any delay.
However, he said that the bar could also play a key role with the bench in this Jihad to overcome the issue of backlog of cases.
“Let us be a team. Let us be one part of a body. We have to support practically each other to give justice to miserable litigants,” the chief justice asked presidents of bar associations of the province.
The chief justice said he was here to remove misconception of the KP Bar Associations about the non-holding of a reference in the honour of retired SC judge Dost Muhammad Khan.
He said that he was hurt when he received a resolution from the PHC Bar Association without hearing or contacting him on the issue of not holding a reference for Justice Dost Muhammad Khan. He said that Justice Dost Muhammad was his close friend and even today he did not know the reasons as why he refused to attend the full court reference.
The chief justice said he was still ready to hold a full court reference for the Supreme Court judge.“All the judges of the apex court had finalised preparations for extending a full court reference to the judge, but Dost Muhammad refused to attend the reference,” Justice Saqib Nisar said.
Justice Dost Muhammad had declined to attend the reception of the Supreme Court as well as of bar associations on his retirement.He said that the SC judge did not attend any reception either from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) or the Pakistan Bar Council before he called it a day.
About the case against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, he said that there had been several cases pending for a long time and under the law the case related to maintainability is to be heard by the court.“I have heard many cases on the point of maintainability and thus also heard this case, as everyone is equal in the eye of law. I had closed the case forever, which was pending in the office for a long time,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chief justice also visited the KP Judicial Academy. He also conducted surprise visit to Lady Reading Hospital and inspected the medical facilities there and listened to the patients and their attendance complaints against the hospital administration.