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April 16, 2018

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Shots fired at Justice Ijazul Ahsan’s house

LAHORE: Some unidentified persons twice fired shots at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan in the Model Town area, here on Sunday. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.

Rangers and police, later on, cordoned off the area and carried out a search operation. Another checking and investigation was also carried out by the Elite Force. Rangers were, meanwhile, deployed at the residence of Justice Ahsan.

Forensic experts visited the residence twice and gathered evidence, including CCTV footage of the security cameras. Ballistic experts were called in to ascertain the nature of fire. After hearing about the incident, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar reached Justice Ejazul Ahsan’s residence and condemned the incident.

One firing incident took place late in the night, while the other on Sunday morning. The chief justice summoned Inspector General of Police (IGP), Punjab, and directed him to monitor the situation himself. The police officials were investigating whether it was a targeted attack or an incident of firing into the air. Police said two bullets were fired, one at the main gate and the other at the kitchen door.

According to police officials, the judge's private security guard, Din Mohammad, discovered a 9mm bullet casing inside the residence at 6am on Sunday after which the police were called in. Another bullet casing was recovered from the garage of the house.

Police said the casings had been sent for forensic analysis, adding that they were also reviewing footage of CCTV cameras in the area. Neighbours informed Geo News that they did not recall hearing gunshots in the night.

Police believe the shots were fired from roofs of surrounding houses and not from the street in front of the house. Later in the day, a Supreme Court spokesperson said that the chief minister’s personal staff officer was not allowed to meet Justice Ahsan when he arrived at his residence.

The Model Town police have registered a case against unknown persons on charges of firing at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan. The case has been registered on the complaint of Constable Asif under various sections of the PPC, including attempted murder and Anti-Terrorism Act.

A four-member investigation team has been constituted under the supervision of DIG Investigation, Lahore. The other three members of the team are SSP Investigation, SP CIA and SP Investigation Model Town.

Also, the provincial government constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the firing incident. The JIT would comprise two members from sensitive agencies – ISI and MI, additional IG CTD, DIG Investigation and a member from the Punjab Forensic Agency.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and directed the Punjab IGP to bring the culprits to book. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan has said that the residence had security cameras surveillance and the police would soon be able to apprehend the culprits.

Justice Ahsan was part of the five-member bench that heard the high-profile Panamagate case last year. The judge's house is located very close to the residence of Punjab chief minister and his son MNA Hamza Shahbaz, where there is visible police presence throughout the day.

Justice Ahsan often spends the weekend in Lahore, his hometown, where he, along with the chief justice, hear several cases related to public welfare issues and other matters at the Lahore Registry.

Justice Ahsan is also the monitoring judge of the ongoing corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Meanwhile, the government authorities, political parties and legal fraternity among others expressed solidarity with the apex court judge, condemned the incident in strong words and called for bringing the culprits to book.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Interior Minister Chaudhry Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique, State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, in their separate statements condemned the incident in strong words.The PM ordered the officials concerned to bring the perpetrators to book as soon as possible.

The Punjab CM condemned the firing and sought report from the IGP Punjab. Marriyum Aurangzeb said such anarchists should be unveiled as soon as possible. Punjab Government Spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan told a private TV channel additional security had been provided to the Supreme Court judge.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani condemned the firing incident and said those behind such a heinous crime should be brought to book. Entire parliament stands behind the judiciary for the supremacy of law and constitution, he added.

PTI

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan Sunday strongly condemned the firing at Justice Ijazul Ahsan residence.

“These Sicilian-mafia-like tactics to pressurise senior judiciary are unacceptable in any democracy,” he said in a message on social media. Imran added, “PTI stands firmly behind the Judiciary and the rule of law, and this is one reason behind our 29th April Minar-i-Pakistan jalsa”.

Meanwhile, PTI Central Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry also condemned the incident and demanded CM Punjab step down. “Rana Sanaullah and Saad Rafique have experience and expertise of such machinations,” the PTI leader alleged.  

PPP

Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and opposition leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah demanded a high-level judicial inquiry into the incident. “This is a serious issue and the perpetrators should be unveiled and brought to justice,” they added. Sindh Minister for Law and Prisons Ziaul Hassan Lanjhar demanded the Punjab government immediately arrest those behind the incident.  

PML-Q

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and senior party leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi condemned attack on the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and demanded a judicial inquiry to expose the real culprits. They said entire nation was standing with the judiciary for supremacy of the Constitution and law.

Legal fraternity

The Supreme Court Bar Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association condemned the incident and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

SCBA Secretary Safdar Tarar and LHCBA President Anwarul Haq said the lawyers were soldiers of the SC judges. President SCBA Pir Kaleem Khurshid told a private TV channel the lawyers would protest against the incident throughout the country on Monday. Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Kamran Murtaza, while condemning the incident, said lawyers would wear black armbands on Monday.

Bar councils call off strike

However, later on, the bar councils across country, heeding the request of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, withdrew a strike call, given for Monday against the firing incident.

The CJ had appealed to all bar councils to withdraw the strike call, according to a spokesperson for the Supreme Court. The CJ asked the legal fraternity to attend the courts for “the sake of dispensation of justice to litigants whose cases are already fixed for hearing tomorrow in different courts.

"Litigant parties will come from far-flung areas to attend courts; therefore, the strike will not only suffer routine court proceedings but also hurt the expectations of people," said a statement issued by the apex court.

The CJ also extended his thanks and gratitude to all bar councils for their 'unflinching support for standing with Supreme Court during difficult moments”.

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