Disorder being spread to control Karachi: CJ Iftikhar
09 March, 2013
KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the police and Rangers to purge the city of crimes and terrorism, observing that the two law enforcement agencies would be getting the full support of courts in their endeavour to curb crimes.
The court observed that there were no sectarian or ethnic killings in Karachi alone but there was a tug of war between several groups who had their own socio political interests to strengthen their position.
A five-member bench, headed by the Chief Justice, was hearing suo moto proceedings on the Abbas Town bombing and failure of the government for not timely rescuing the blast-affected families.
Justice Khawaja took an exception to unconfirmed reports by intelligence agencies with regard to lawlessness and the bomb blast incident and observed that even an ordinary man could predict about the terrorism incidents on the basis of the last 10-12 years terrorism and lawlessness. Justice Khawaja observed that information passed on to the police and other law enforcement agencies should be initiated on some concrete basis.
The Chief Justice observed that the Rangers admitted that they could not enter the blastwaiting till situation was normalized asking Rangers counsel as whether the force will wait for favorable situation if God forbid the country will be invaded by any country?
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain observed that there was over 4 million illegal immigrants which is about 25% of the population of the city but no action was taken against them for their deportation. „How you will provide protection to the people as there are many areas in Karachi where illegal immigrants are residing,š Justice Khilji observed.
The court took notice over non-appearance of interior secretary despite issuance of notice to him with comprehensive report regarding the Abbas town blast. Chief Justice observed that entire institution of police force be strengthened and such impression should be removed that institution could not run without few police officers.
Chief Justice observed that intelligence agencies including ISI, MI had briefed the court in chamber and they disclosed each and every thing to the court about the law and order situation in the city.
Chief Justice observed that it is unfortunate that entire prosecution is helpless as they have no evidence to prove the guilt of the accused adding that court is wiling to appoint monitoring judge for examining the functioning of trial courts that shall examine the what evidence has been placed before the court by the investigation agency.
Chief Justice observed that there was no sectarian dispute in the city but there has been present interests of some groups, as persons belonging to both sects have been martyred in blast but still people are living in the area with peace and harmony and they foil every attempt to cause sectarian discord.
Chief Justice observed that government could console the affected people whose loved one lost their lives in the blast. Chief Justice observed that after the Supreme Court‚s judgment over 5000 persons have been killed in the city asking Advocate General Sindh as who will be responsible for such killings.
Justice Jawad Khawaja observed that over 50 persons lost lives in the blast but still government did not realize that it failed to protect the lives of the citizen as guaranteed under the Constitution.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain asked Sindh government counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan as could he deny the fact that even his own children are living under the fear in the city. „How fair and free election could be held, which is requirement of the Constitution, under such law and order situation,š Justice Khilji observed.
Chief Justice observed that no government could run without any effective deterrence but now the situation is that entire police force were in grip of few high ranking police officers who made hostage the entire police institution.
Justice Khawaja expressed dissatisfaction over the investigation of Abbas town blast case observing that Chief Secretary, IG Sindh and other high ups who have received intelligence report regarding the terrorism incident much before the incident, should have been included in the investigation and interrogated for their role in passing information to the concerned law enforcement agency.
SSP Special Branch Shahid Hussain Mehar provided reports submitting that information regarding happening of incident has been forwarded to AIG Crime branch on February 21. The court observed that it seem that there was no coordination between the intelligence agencies and the law enforcement agencies. SSP submitted that reports were shared with additional IG and same perhaps will be forwarded to other concerned department.
Intelligence Bureau joint director Ghulam Nabi submitted that IB share the intelligence with regard to the terrorism incident to the police and Rangers. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain observed that it was concrete information why action shall not be taken on basis of such information.
Chief Justice observed that DG Rangers and IG Sindh will be held responsible if they are aware about the incident and directed counsel of suspended IG Sindh Fayaz Leghari to call him to appear before the court.
Taking notice over the police inaction for detecting the crime, Chief Justice observed that Geo TV shown footage regarding kidnapping attempt of girl in Clifton area but no culprits involved in the incident was arrested yet.
Chief Justice asked Acting IG Sindh as why person involved in kidnapping attempt has not been arrested yet despite presence of Rangers, police reserve force and other law enforcement agencies while the Geo anchor person Hamid Mir could disclose details of the incident. IG Sindh submitted that suspect is resident of Lahore and he will be arrested. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain asked IG as why this suspect was not arrested yet observing that lest he should not have crossed the border.
Chief Justice observed that if police take action without any fear the suspect could not succeed to reach Lahore. The court observed that now the situation is that influential persons could not be arrested without the intervention and the direction of the court.
Chief Justice also took notice regarding law and order situation on March 6 when entire city was closed down within two to three hours. Chief Justice observed that it was unfortunate that police has lack of confidence and honest officers have been removed from their post. Acting IG Sindh Ghulam Shabbir assured the court that he will put the entire police department in order and ensure that sense of security to be given to the citizen of the city.
IG said that police strength of 31000 in which 20,000 is operational while 8,000 were deputed for security of VIPs. SSP Niaz Khoso requested court to pass order for increase the strength of the police force submitting that increase in strength could not be possible without the court order.Justice Amir Hani Muslim observed that kidnapping for ransom has now become an industry in the city and no person is safe while traveling at superhighway.
Chief Justice observed that no improvement has been made despite the Supreme Court judgment and responsibility has to be fixed on failure of preventing commission of offence that will be followed by the consequences.
Advocate General Sindh submitted that remarks and observations of the court have caused uneasiness in working of the government and demoralized the police force who has been fighting against the terrorism and sacrificed their lives without any appreciation. He submitted that timing of the blast was so crucial because next election are at door and there are groups which do not want free and fair election and they are united with proscribed organization in destabilizing the country.
He submitted that no federal or security intelligence agency convey information regarding the blast however it is high time that all agencies including federal and provincial should sit together with meaningful cooperation between various tiers thus war against terrorism could be fought and there was no army operation is required for this challenging task. He submitted that Deputy Speaker and MNA Shazia Marri who was deputed to supervise rehabilitation work were forced to go back by the mob. He prayed court to expunge remarks against the constitutionally elected democratic government in the larger interest of the justice.
The court also inquired AIG Legal as why Owais Muzafar Tappi, a foster brother of President Asif Ali Zardari, was given police escort of 50 police personnel. Chief Justice asked AIG Legal as what is the position of Owais Muzafar Tappi and what is the threat to him for which he was given escort of 50 police personnel. Justice Jawwad Khawaja inquired as whether he applied for such security to the IG Sindh and whether any justification for giving him large number of police personnel for security purpose.
Justice Khawaja observed that every person in this city has facing threat and no one should be declared as VIP. AIG legal Ali Sher Jakhrani submitted that he will inquire from concerned department as under whose order such police force was given to Muzafar Tappi for security.
Commissioner Karachi Hashim Raza Zaidi said that he visited the blast site within one hour and started rescue work. He assured that compensation cheques to be delivered to the affected families during course of the day.
Incharge Prosecutor General Sindh Saleem Akhtar submitted that there were 253 cases were pending in ATC-I, 242 in ATC-II and 136 in ATC-III. The court took notice over 100% acquittal in the cases observing that why action was not taken against the investigation officers for defective investigation and the prosecutors who opined that case is fit for trial.
Justice Jawad Khawaja observed that millions of rupees tax payers money was wasted due to defective investigation and prosecution. „It is mockery with the people of this country how the terrorism could be eliminated in this manner,š Justice Khawaja observed.
Referring Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar murder case, Chief Justice observed five witnesses connected to the case have been killed and despite the direction of the High Court trial was still not concluded yet.
The court also taken notice regarding dilapidated condition of anti terrorism courts and observed that under trial prisoners were kept in a cage which is amount to insult the dignity of human being. Chief Justice observed that Chief Secretary and Home Secretary will be taken to task for such violation of the Constitution. The court directed Chief Secretary to make alternate arrangements for ATC with duly constructed lock of under trial prisoners.
The court also took notice over appointment of contract officers in the Sindh police and observed that why such appointment was made in clear violation of the court orders.
Sindh government‚s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan submitted that following direction of the court on March 6, IG Sindh Fayaz Leghari and DIG East Aleem Jaffery have been surrendered to federal government. The court however expressed dissatisfaction over the Chief Secretary‚s report regarding AIG Shabbir Sheikh‚s role to deal with Abbas Town incident and directed him to comply the court direction in letter and spirit within three days.
The court repeated notices to federal government through Secretary Interior and Secretary ministry of defence as well as Inter Service Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau to put up their reports through their counsel about happening of the incident particularly pointing out as to whether before the incident any information was communicated to the police, Rangers within three days before the court.
Intelligence Bureau, DG Rangers and SSP Special Branch submitted their confidential reports before the court regarding sharing of intelligence information. The court observed that intelligence information regarding the terrorism incidents was not shared between the police and Rangers and no efforts were made to take action on intelligence information.
The court confronted with the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, DG Rangers, DIG Special Branch and Joint Director Intelligence Bureau about the non-cooperation in in-camera hearing that were held at 3:00 P.M.
The court directed all intelligence agencies including ISI,MI and other agencies responsible for passing information regarding terrorism activities, targeted killings to cooperate and develop effective system so that they may succeed the object to ensure that life and property of the citizen is protected.
The court observed that despite court direction to de-politicizing in police department, no dedicated efforts was made at to depoliticize the police force and assign task of controlling law and order situation, prevention of commission of terrorism by appointing honest and dedicated police officers. The court ordered that process of depoliticizing shall be initiated with consultation of IGP and appoint such SHOs, SP,SSP and DIGs who are in position to control the law and order in view of present situation. The court directed that such exercise be completed and report to be submitted by the Chief Secretary.
The court observed that despite court direction against the contract appointment in police department, appointment was made not only in police but also in Secretariat like Home Secretary etc. AIG Legal Ali Sher Jakhrani produced list of 14 contractual officers who were extended contracts on different posts. The court directed that action to be taken against such officers and ensure that any appointment contrary to section 14 of Civil Servant Act and Supreme Court orders shall be cancelled.
The court observed that despite acquittal of accused in anti terrorism cases, not a single investigation officers have been prosecuted under the section 27 of Anti Terrorism Act for defective investigation. The court directed Prosecutor General Sindh to look into the acquittal cases in which criminals were managed to acquit and initiate proceedings against concerned officers while in future sincere efforts to be made for collecting evidence against the accused involved in crimes may brought to book.
Keeping in view of law and order situation, the court directed Sindh government, home department to increase the anti terrorism court from 15 to 20 with proper infrastructure so that cases may decide expeditiously. The court directed the office that copy of order be placed before Chief Justice SHC so that Sessions Judges be conferred powers of ATC who will decide the cases expeditiously observing that conviction of accused shall send message that culprits shall not be spared. The court observed that monitoring judge of High Court shall also examine the proceedings of the trials and ensure that cases be disposed of in term of ATA and court directions in Sheikh Liaquat Hussain case.
Commissioner Karachi filed report before the court submitting that compensation to the affected families is being paid and process is likely to be concluded. He submitted that alternate accommodation has been given to the affected families of Abbas Town. The court also viewed Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir program Capital Talk regarding Abbas Town incident and observed that this program highlighted the misery of the affected families. The court directed the DVD of this program be made court record.
The court directed IG to constitute an investigation team comprised of dedicated officers not below the rank of DIG to conduct investigation of Abbas Town incident. The court directed that AG Sindh to place record of all cases who were killed in last couple of days.
The court directed the AG Sindh to submit compliance report of Supreme Court judgment and observations and fixed March 21 for next hearing.