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How did high court ignore evidence!: A judge unable to dispense justice must go home, says CJP

Top Story

January 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Thursday observed that a judge who is unable to dispense justice must go home and wondered how a high court can ignore important evidence in a rape case.

The Supreme Court acquitted a man sentenced to jail on rape charges by the Lahore High Court (LHC) after finding the testimony of the complainant to be false. The apex court was hearing a case pertaining to the alleged rape of a girl in Sheikhupura that was filed in 2010 by the victim's father. Two men were accused and one was convicted. The second suspect is still absconding.

Justice Khosa lashed out at petitioner Bashir Ahmed for giving a false statement in the court, saying that "justice cannot be done until false witnesses are dealt with". "The accused could have been sentenced to death because of the false statement given by the primary witness and petitioner Bashir Ahmed," Justice Khosa said. "How about we hand you a life sentence for giving a false statement, Mr Bashir?" the chief justice remarked and added: "If we take action against you, people will say that the court sent a man to jail whose daughter was raped." Justice Khosa also criticised the high court for "ignoring evidence". "High court is a senior court. In this case, high court ignored evidence," he regretted. "A judge's job is to do justice, those who cannot do that should go home." The chief justice said conducting a probe is not the "court's job" and an investigation officer knows "which witness is honest and which is a liar". He pointed out that Bashir Ahmed had also changed his statement before the court twice. Overturning the high court's verdict, Justice Khosa made the victim's father promise that he will speak the truth.

In another case pertaining to the alleged rape of a woman in Sahiwal, the Supreme Court acquitted a man eight years after he was sentenced to jail, ruling that accusations levelled against Nadeem Masood were false. During the hearing, the chief justice said the appellant had been in a consensual relationship with Masood for seven months, during which she had not filed any complaint against the accused. He further said that she was two-weeks pregnant at the time when she lodged a case and noted that the medical reports showed no evidence of rape. The woman, however, argued that the accused was a powerful man and had violated her multiple times over seven months that had led to her conceiving a child. Thewoman's father urged the judge to "do justice". "These days only favourable decisions are deemed justice. If a verdict is unfavourable, it is not considered justice," Justice Khosa responded, saying that the defence was unable to prove its claims. Both cases were first heard by a session court that had awarded jail sentences to the accused. The accused in both cases had filed an appeal against the sessions court verdicts in the LHC but the high court upheld the decisions.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court directed the Sindh government to submit a comprehensive policy for cabinet’s approval against encroachments on government land and unauthorised constructions in the city and restoration of Karachi in accordance to its original master plan.

Hearing a petition about unauthorised construction on evacuee property at Lyari, the Supreme Court’s two-member bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that the court will not compromise even on an inch of Karachi's land and all unauthorised constructions will have to be removed from different parts of the city.

The Supreme Court also ordered the cantonment boards to remove all sorts of commercial activities, and observed that cantonment lands are only meant for cantonment purposes and could only be used for that and nothing else.

“Karachi’s infrastructure has been destroyed,” Justice Gulzar observed, adding that all the institutions shared responsibility for the state of the city.

Advocate General Sindh Salman Talibuddin filed a statement mentioning that he would consult all the relevant authorities of the government of Sindh in coordination with the Karachi Development Authority, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the cantonment boards of Karachi and other federal land owning agencies to restore the city to its former glory. He submitted that he will also consult top authorities as to how the existing buildings could be removed and the rehabilitation plan for those dislocated and displaced.

The court observed that it seems that lands of Malir River and Korangi industrial area have also been occupied for commercial purposes and constructions already made. The court also took exception to non-compliance of its directives for removal of unauthorised construction at Jam Sadiq Park at the Korangi industrial area.

The AG Sindh submitted that the then chief minister had only announced the park and had made no announcement about any allotments.

The court wondered if there was no importance of the chief minister’s statement. The KDA Director Anti-Encroachment Jameel Baloch submitted that a departmental store and other constructions were raised there. The court directed the KDA to restore the Malir River land and remove all unauthorised constructions from the park.

The court observed that there are so many other places in Karachi that were meant to remain open under the city plan or amenity areas meant for parks, playgrounds and other similar purposes which have been encroached for building marriage halls, markets, shopping centres and apartments. It also observed that the state lands belonging to various agencies including federal and provincial governments were encroached and huge constructions made before the eyes of the government. The court observed that Railways lands were also occupied and due to such encroachments the Karachi circular railways was no more in operation. It observed that Karachi’s infrastructure has been destroyed and all institutions are equally responsible for the sorry state of the city.

During hearing, the court observed that the Sindh government will have to act immediately to improve infrastructure in Karachi for which at least 500 unauthorised buildings will have to be demolished. The court observed that Tipu Sultan Road, Shaheed-e-Millat Road and Kashmir Road have been destroyed due to unauthorised constructions and illegal permission of commercial activities. It said the Lines Area should be demolished and multi-storey buildings should be built to accommodate the people.

The advocate general Sindh submitted that a meeting of the secretaries of the relevant departments will be held to find a solution and the same will also be decided in the cabinet meeting within two weeks. The court directed the advocate general to submit a progress report along with original un-amended master plan of the Karachi.

Director General KDA Sami Siddiqui submitted that Aziz Bhatti Park has been cleared from all encroachments and the Customs Club, marriage hall and nursery have been demolished. The court observed that Aziz Bhatti Park should be developed as a model park for the citizens of Karachi.

The apex court directed all cantonment boards heads to appear before the court along with their respective reports about the removal of all commercial activities from the cantonment board lands, in particular the Global Marquees, on the emergency military medical supplies land for Sindh and Balochistan near the FTC flyover and other commercial activities falling under the cantonment areas at the Rashid Minhas Road, Karsaz and Shahra-e-Faisal.

The court observed that walls were constructed on Shahra-e-Faisal on the desire of an Army officer who wanted to earn money through advertisements. It expressed concern over the permission of cantonment land for marriage halls and observed as to why the military authorities allow such permissions as several marriage halls are situated near the military installations.

The court also took exception over the reclamation of land by the DHA and observed if the DHA wanted to connect to the US through the sea. It observed that the DHA Lahore has also extended its projects right up to near the Indian border. Ordering removal of the adjacent marquees, marriage halls and the grand convention hall, the SC bench observed that all the cantonment board land can only be used for cantonment purposes and nothing else.

Notices were also issued to attorney general of Pakistan and heads of federal government’s land owning agencies including Karachi Port Trust, Chairman Pakistan International Airlines, Airport Security Force, Civil Aviation Authority, Karachi Electric, State Life Insurance and others and called their reports about unauthorised construction and misuse of state land. Managing Director Karachi Water and Sewerage Board submitted a report stating that the orders of the court have been complied and the marriage hall and the KWSB officers club at the Shahra-e-Faisal have been demolished. He submitted that a public park will be developed on the land within two months.

The Supreme Court also took exception over the performance of police and said the incidents of police firing have become common and pedestrians are killed without any reasons. It said police is using taxpayers’ money but did nothing for the protection and welfare of the people. The court observed that police did not even spare a five-year-old girl who died due to police firing.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will take up a review petition next week against its judgement delivered in October last year acquitting Aasia Bibi of blasphemy charges and setting her free. A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel will take up the review petition on January 29 against its verdict in the Aasia Bibi case.

Qari Muhammad Salam, the complainant, had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court Lahore Registry through his counsel Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry against the apex court verdict acquitting the Christian lady who was convicted on blasphemy charges in 2010. He contended that Aasia Bibi confessed to her crime during investigation, and that a delay in lodging the FIR does not imply that the defendant is not guilty of the crime. The petitioner had also sought to put her name on the Exit Control List (ECL) till a final decision on the review petition was made.

In October last year, a three-member bench of the apex court headed by former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel had acquitted Aasia Bibi and ordered her immediate release from jail after setting aside her conviction and sentence awarded by courts. Aasia Bibi, a mother of four, was convicted and awarded death sentence in 2010 under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. The allegations against Aasia Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was working in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women who alleged that she had committed blasphemy. Aasia Bibi was then convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010.

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