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October 28, 2020

Alleged interference in Sindh Police affairs: Rights activists move SC for constitution of independent commission

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October 28, 2020

KARACHI: Rights activists have filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking constitution of a broad-based independent commission under a retired superior court judge to conduct a detailed inquiry with regard to alleged interference in police administration in arrest matter of Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s spouse Captain (retd) Safdar in Karachi.

I.A Rehman and others submitted in the petition that the opposition parties, including PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party, have alleged that the Sindh IGP was abducted and forced to issue arrest orders for Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar in a case that pertained to desecration of the sanctity of the Quaid-i-Azam mausoleum by raising slogans inside the premises on October 18.

The petitioners, IA Rehman, Karamat Ali, Nazim Fida Hussain Haji, Jibran Nasir, Mahnaz Rehman, Salima Hashimi, Zehra Bano, Mohammad Tehseen, Nasir Aziz, Farhat Parveen, Fahim Zaman Khan and Anis Haroon, submitted that there are fundamental flaws in both the inquiries ordered earlier. They submitted that the Sindh government had constituted an inquiry committee, comprising politicians solely and not constituting a judicial commission, which shows the lack of seriousness on the part of the Sindh government to investigate the incident of alleged kidnapping of the IGP.

They submitted that serious legal questions arise on the provincial inquiry committee investigating into the incident of alleged kidnapping of the IGP by unidentified persons. They submitted that the subject matter of the petition involves the “illegal and malafide encroachments”, which has perverse implications not only for the province of Sindh but also for the functioning of the Federation, therefore, the SC is the most adequate and most appropriate forum to deal with such issue.

They submitted that any interference in policing and criminal investigations of the IGP is in clear violation of the autonomy of command of IGP over the Sindh Police, which is guaranteed under the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1861 and Revival of Police Order, 2002) (Amendment) Act, 2019, as well as the judgments of the superior courts of Pakistan on the autonomy of command of the IGP.

They submitted that the alleged incident has created a deep sense of insecurity and uncertainty amongst all persons and citizens living in Sindh. They said that if the IGP of a province can be kidnapped and detained and subjected to illegal and unconstitutional extraneous pressures in order to influence a criminal investigation, then the guaranteed fundamental rights, including the right to life and liberty under Article 9, right to dignity under Article 14 and right to due process under Article 10A, of the Constitution have become unenforceable. They said that the incident has not only endangered police autonomy and jeopardized our criminal justice system but also shaken the very foundations of the Pakistani State being an attack on provincial autonomy and the structure of Federation as preserved by the Constitution.

The court was requested to appoint a broad-based independent commission, headed by a retired High Court judge or Supreme Court judge and comprising relevant and respected civil society persons, and direct the commission to conduct a detailed inquiry over the allegations and fix the responsibility if any persons found involved in illegal and malafide acts and submit report within two months.