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October 14, 2018

PU teachers’ humiliation: I’ll put handcuffs on you also, CJP tells DG NAB

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October 14, 2018

LAHORE: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday lashed out at National Accountability Bureau (NAB) director general Lahore for producing former vice-chancellor Punjab University Dr Mujahid Kamran and four other ex-officials in a court in handcuffs.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Mujahid Kamran and other officials over allegations of corruption, illegal appointments and nepotism and produced them before the Lahore Accountability Court to seek their physical remand in the case.

At the outset of the hearing, the DIG Police Operations clarified that the Punjab Police had no role in the incident of handcuffing of teachers as 53 policemen had been put at the disposal of the NAB authorities permanently and they followed the orders of NAB officials only.

“Being handcuffed is tantamount to death for Dr Mujahid Kamran and other teachers,” remarked the top judge while hearing the case at the Lahore Registry.

When asked under what law the teachers were humiliated, Director General NAB Lahore Saleem Shahzad tried to explain his position. However, the CJP warned him to admit his mistake before giving any explanation; otherwise, he would put him on handcuffs also.

Seeing the CJP’s mood, Shahzad at once conceded his mistake and said he was deeply ashamed of what NAB had done to teachers. He submitted an apology in the court and conceded that it had been a mistake to handcuff the teachers, as it inadvertently humiliated them.

"I am deeply ashamed and ask the whole nation for forgiveness," he said.

"Producing Mujahid Kamran and other professors in handcuffs in the court is akin to killing their dignity. I will not tolerate the disrespect to teachers in this manner," the chief justice warned.

The court ordered Shahzad to personally apologise to Mujahid Kamran and the other professors and instructed that a written apology be also submitted in the court.

The DG NAB said former VC had been handcuffed for security reasons.

“Let the law take its course, and those who violated the law will go to jail as well in handcuffs in a similar manner,” the CJP warned.

"If you are at fault, I will issue instructions for registration of a case against you," Chief Justice Saqib Nisar warned, adding: "Then you can go around seeking bail and I will put you on handcuffs also for the world to see, like you did to the teachers.

“Then you will feel the pain and agony which the teachers had to go through a couple of days ago,” the CJP continued.

Upon hearing this, Shahzad started sobbing, prompting the chief justice to remark: "Now that you yourself are in the hot water, you broke into tears."

Confused to offer some satisfactory explanation for decision to arrest the PU professors, the DG NAB started beating about the bush and said: "We put Mujahid Kamran on handcuffs due to security reasons. Later on, I visited him and personally apologised to him and the other professors."

The DG NAB submitted that there was not bad intention behind handcuffing them. “What do you mean by bad intention; you handcuffed the respected professors and tarnished their image,” the CJP remarked. “I have come to know that you have said outside the court in a case that the chief justice will retire after three months,” the CJP told the DG NAB.

Advocate General Punjab stated in the court that the incident was regrettable, adding that the professors should be respected, who served the whole nation. The CJP remarked: “He could not tolerate the insult to teachers at any cost”.

In bureau’s defence, the NAB prosecutor pleaded: “We have done a great deal to fight corruption.”

‘What is the performance of the NAB,’ wondered the top judge in a visible show of mistrust over the efficiency of the body.

“What have you done? What has NAB done?” CJP Nisar responded, adding that NAB had done “nothing but make a mockery out of people”.

‘Tell us whether you want to work in this organisation or not?,’ the chief justice pitched a point-blank question before the NAB DG.

“These [teachers] are the people who taught the children; but they were handcuffed,” remarked the chief justice and added that he had made a telephone call to the chairman of NAB after watching the video of the incident.

He said he was unaware of the incident and he assured him (CJP) that the Lahore DG NAB will satisfy me in this regard,” the chief justice said.

“I have high hopes for you; but look at what you’re doing. If you are not fit to serve this post then you must leave it,” he said, addressing Shahzad.

The hearing culminated after DG Shahzad issue a public apology and submitted his written apology in the court, which the CJP accepted.

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