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February 10, 2018
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Failure to file report: IHC warns defence ministry officials of contempt proceedings

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February 10, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Where is the report of Raja Zafarul Haq Committee? Produce it even if it is not signed by the interior minister. Why Ministry of Defence did not submit a report to fix the responsibility for who used the name of a prominent personality in a disputed agreement between Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) dharna leadership and federal government?

These were the questions and directions issued by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC while hearing the petitions against the TLP Faizabad Dharna, and also in the petition of Maulana Allah Wasaya, who has been contending before the court that an amendment was made in the Election Act 2017 (EA-2017) regarding oath of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat that was nullified through another amendment whereas all other laws repealed through Act of October 2, 2017 still remained repealed.

Justice Siddiqui ordered the government to submit a report or be ready to face the contempt of court proceedings. “Where is the report of Intelligence Bureau (IB) regarding a viral audio recording about Nov-Dec Faizabad Dharna? If IB lacks the capacity to identify the voices, submit a report in written and also inform the court which other Pakistani institution has the capacity in this regard,” he said.

He said, “Despite availing sufficient time, the report of the committee headed by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq has not been submitted on the pretext that one of the members of Committee Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Interior Minister, is out of the country." On the last hearing on January 12, the bench had directed the federal government to produce a report of the said committee before the court.

Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Arshad Mehmood Kiani, representing the federal government, told the court that the report was not submitted due to the absence of Ahsan Iqbal. The bench further inquired that when did Ahsan Iqbal leave the country? It was told that three days ago. The bench then expressed resentment over this issue and observed that the last hearing was nearly one month ago. “Stop playing games with this court,” the bench noted, "Apparently this is an intentional effort to frustrate the order passed by this court, of bringing the aforesaid report on judicial record". The DAG sought one month to submit the report. The court directed the federal government to produce the report on February 12 even if it is not signed by the interior minister.

About the use of the name of the head of a prominent institution in the agreement, Colonel Falak Naz of the Ministry of Defence appeared before the court but did not produce the above said report.

The IHC bench reprimanded the officials for this attitude and said, "It is made clear that in case of failure to file the report, this court shall be constrained to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the delinquents, on next date of hearing". The IHC bench directed secretary defence to personally appear before the court on next hearing and submit a report through either additional attorney general or deputy attorney general.

In connection with the identification of the viral audio, Director General IB Aftab Sultan and Joint Director General Anwar Ali appeared before the court. They submitted that IB lacked the facility of voice matching. The bench expressed its resentment and noted in the order that "Now, the question arises that if head of an intelligence agency is not aware who else can provide this information? Through this stance of DG, one can appreciate non-professional approach of Intelligence Bureau".

Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Zulfiqar Haider, Inspector General Islamabad Police Sultan Azam Temuri and a section officer of the ministry of law Wajid Aziz Qureshi also appeared before the court.

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