Saturday September 23, 2023

SC orders trial court to hear Model Town case daily

By Amir Riaz
April 15, 2018

LAHORE: The Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar, ordered the anti-terrorism court (ATC) to hear the 2014 Model Town incident cases on a daily basis and asked the Lahore High Court to wind up all pending cases regarding the incident within two weeks.

A two-member bench of Supreme Court Lahore Registry, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, heard the suo motu case about delay in provision of justice to the victims of Model Town incident on Saturday. At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers during an anti-encroachment operation in Model Town on June 17, 2014. The CJP also cancelled ATC judge Ijaz Awan’s leaves, except on Sundays. The trial has been pending before the ATC against police and civil administration officials for long. A private complaint, filed by Idara Minhajul Quran, a sister organisation of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, is also pending adjudication before the trial court.

Earlier, Punjab Prosecutor General Ehtesham Qadir had presented before the court the record of cases about Model Town incident being heard by ATC and Lahore High Court. The PAT counsel Rai Bashir told the court that no progress had been made in the proceedings for long. At this, the prosecutor general pointed out that the counsel for PAT has often been found absent during hearings of the appeals pending before the high court. The court also ordered the high court to give a verdict on the case pertaining to Model Town incident within two weeks. The top court further ordered that Justice Ali Baqar Najafi report on the 2014 deadly clashes between police and followers of Tahirul Qadri be made part of the court record.

Addressing Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman, the CJP asked him to submit the report before the Supreme Court. The law officer complied with the order and submitted the report in the court after the proceedings concluded. “We are not going against the law. The people who don't respect the judges will not get any relaxation,” said Chief Justice Nisar while hearing the case. On April 8, Chief Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice of delay in the provision of justice to the victims of Model Town incident.

In another case. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed Punjab Chief Secretary Capt (retd) Zahid Saeed to ensure the record of public sector companies was provided to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by 9pm Sunday (today). During hearing of a suo motu case against establishing public companies in Punjab, a NAB official complained to the chief justice that record of some of the companies has not been provided by the government.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court suspended Dr Zafar Hussain Tanvir as vice chancellor of Multan’s Nishtar Medical University and directed a government formed search committee to make fresh appointment strictly on merit.

The CJP had taken suo motu notice of appointment of Dr Tanvir, who had a PhD in Zoology, and the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council had not approved his degree. The chief justice also expressed disappointment with the members of search committee for recommending the name of Dr Tanvir. One of its members, Prof Faisal Masood also resigned as acting-vice chancellor of University of Health Sciences (UHS) following adverse remarks made by the chief justice.

The Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar, set a seven-day deadline for the Punjab police to launch a crackdown on quacks in the province and elimination of quackery.

Hearing different cases of public interest at Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry, a two-member SC bench, led by chief justice, also sought a report in this regard within a week. Justice Ijazul Ahsan was the other member of the bench.

The CJP took suo motu notice against the quacks after it was reported that a woman died after being administered a wrong injection allegedly by a fake doctor in Kahana locality of Lahore.

The victim’s husband, Shahzad, claimed that his wife was suffering from fever, adding the wrong injection caused her death.

Recently, the Punjab Health Commission launched a drive against fake doctors, sealing 57 of their clinics in the province. “The Punjab police should have taken strict action against such people,” the CJP remarked. “In seven days, all of them should be arrested and a report should be submitted before the court,” he added.

The CJP also stopped all courts across the country from issuing orders against healthcare commission and asked the aggrieved persons to directly approach the Supreme Court for redressal of their grievances.

In another suo motu notice of provision of substandard drinking water at government hospitals, the CJP directed Punjab Health Minister Salman Rafique, present in the courtroom, to ensure provision of clean drinking water in all the hospitals and submit a report within seven days. The CJP further ordered that all vacant seats in Health Department should be filled through Punjab Public Service Commission and asked the drug testing laboratory to submit report of all pending tests in six weeks time and in future ensure the release of such reports in one month.

Justice Nisar also took notice of the use of luxury cars by ministers and judges alike. The top judge also sought a report from provincial governments over the use and provision of luxury cars in each province.

The SC directed all cabinet secretaries and provincial secretaries to submit their reports. The apex court also directed the registrars of all high courts across the country to submit a report in 15 days about luxury sedans in the use of all judges of these courts. “We should be informed of all ministers and government officers who drive cars more luxurious than their status,” the CJP remarked. The health and education in the country have deteriorated drastically yet officials want to enjoy a ride in their luxury sedans,” the CJP remarked.

The Supreme Court also ordered the Punjab Police to arrest the prime suspect in the murder case of journalist Zeeshan Butt within 10 days. The court took up the suo motu case of journalist’s killing at the Lahore Registry. During the proceedings, Inspector General Police Punjab Arif Nawaz Khan submitted a report pertaining to arrests made in the case. The report stated that police has arrested three suspects in the case; however, the main suspect Imran alias Mani was still at large.

When the CJP inquired from the IGP how long it would take to arrest the suspect, he asked for 10 days which was granted. Zeeshan Butt was murdered on March 27 in the Union Council Office of Samarial tehsil of Sialkot.

The CJP sought a report from Lahore district and sessions judge about embezzlement of Rs130 million which a widow had deposited in the national exchequer during the pendency of her civil case. The widow Nabila, along with her counsel advocate Iqbal Kalanoori, appeared before the Supreme Court and informed the CJP that a property dispute is pending in the civil court and on court’s order she had deposited the money in the treasury.

She won the case and appeals up to the high court and both the parties struck a compromise when the case landed in Supreme Court. She said she approached the civil court for release of her money and was stunned to know that some unknown persons had got released the money on fake documents. On it, the CJP asked Lahore sessions judge to furnish a report by April 21.