The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the adviser to the prime minister on accountability, to appear in person next Monday (Sept 21) to explain whether any advice has been tendered to Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding the deplorable law and order situation in the federal capital and security of ordinary citizens.
The court also directed the interior secretary, the Islamabad inspector general of police and the chief commissioner to appear in person.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday heard the petitions filed against the abysmal law and order situation in Islamabad.
Ministry of Interior Deputy Secretary Khalid Mahmood Khan and Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar were in attendance.
“Shahzad Akbar should come and see the whole record and tell the prime minister what is happening,” the chief justice remarked, directing the PM’s aide to assist the court in maintaining law and order and curbing rising crime in Islamabad.
The court observed that a kidnapping case was brought to the notice of Premier Imran and he took action. “I don't think the prime minister was informed about this before. The rest of the issues should have been brought to his notice. The prime minister should know what is happening to the common man.”
The chief justice inquired whether the matter was over when the missing citizen (Sajid Gondal) returned.
“The interior secretary should have come to the court and informed what had happened,” the CJ remarked.
As the deputy interior secretary appeared before the court, the CJ asked who was responsible for the basic rights of the people in the city being affected.
The deputy secretary replied, “Full implementation of court orders is being ensured.”
The CJ remarked, “You do not need court orders, you should take care of the fundamental rights yourself. Homes are being looted in F-8 and F-10 and police are nowhere to be seen.”
During the hearing, the CJ remarked, “Even if I break the law, take action against me like a common man.”
The CJ observed that officers in Islamabad were only in the service of the influential classes.
“There is no rule of law here. It is happening on a daily basis. People do not trust the police, so some cases are not reported.”
Referring to the altercation between a PTI MPA’s husband and a sessions judge at a petrol pump opposite the Foreign Office, where shots were also fired, the CJ remarked, "What happened in the red zone? Would you have let the common man go like this?"
The CJ remarked, “This court will not tolerate any violation of fundamental rights of any common man.”
The court remarked that the report submitted by the IGP in the connected petitions was “an unambiguous acknowledgement of lack of ability of the state to apprehend, investigate and prosecute alleged criminals”.
“The deterrence against crime in society is not because of the form or severity of the sentence but it is ensured due to effectiveness of policing, investigations and prosecution,” the CJ remarked. “Rule of law is the only deterrence against crime.”
The court maintained that the trial courts are dependent solely on the quality of investigations and prosecution. “Regrettably the reports placed on record speaks volumes for a system that has been corrupted and is at the brink of collapse.”
The court observed that the Police Order, 2002 has been enforced but appears to be resisted by some quarters. The Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory has been repeatedly directed to establish the prosecution branch but to no avail.
“The ordinary citizens – actual stakeholders – are suffering and their constitutional rights are being flagrantly violated. This constitutional court cannot turn a blind eye to the failure of the public functionaries to protect the citizens.”
CJ Minallah directed to inform the prime minister about the reports filed by the IGP.
Additional Attorney General Khokhar appeared in the court on behalf of the federation.
He said that Sajid Gondal has recovered and returned.
The court inquired what happened to Gondal.
Khokhar replied that the federal cabinet had taken notice on the second day of the court order.
The court remarked, “The prime minister was credited with taking notice.
“Where is the copy of the decision of the federal cabinet? What happened to ordinary citizens?”
The court observed that the Ministry of Interior Secretary is not present. “The learned Additional Attorney General could not give a satisfactory explanation regarding other directions given by this court.”
Angered by the non-appearance of the Islamabad IG, the court remarked, “Nothing is happening for ordinary citizens, it is happening for all elites. People no longer trust the police station system.”
The hearing was adjourned till next Monday.
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