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LHC rejected petition to summon Nawaz Sharif-Shehbaz Sharif in Model Town case

27 September, 2018

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday rejected a petition to summon former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif for the Model Town case.

At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Lahore’s Model Town area during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ on June 17, 2014

Earlier on June 27 a full bench of Lahore High Court reserved the judgment on two appeals and announced the same on Wednesday with 2-1 majority. Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan differed from two other members Justice Alia Neelum and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem.

Bench held Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan in his dissenting note accepted PAT’s appeals and directed ATC to summon Nazwaz Sharif and 12 others.

Full bench by unanimous decision dismissed appeal of Punjab former inspector general police Mushtaq Sukera’s against summoning him by the trail court and directed him to appear before ATC to face charges.

Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan dissented with the majority view and allowed appeal of PAT against non-summoning the twelve former parliamentarians by the anti-terrorism court (ATC).

Justice Aalia Neelum authored the majority judgment while Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem endorsed it.

Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan in his dissenting note held that the impugned order of ATC to the extent of non-summoning these politicians was against law as sufficiency of material available on file had not been properly appreciated. He held to remanded the case to the ATC with direction that it was duty of the court to determine falsehood or truthfulness of allegations levelled in the complaint and the court may hold further inquiry into the matter or get it investigated through any person/agency or a team of experts, as the investigation by police officers did not appear to be appropriate exercise for the reason that number of police officers were involved in the case and had already been summoned. The majority judges held that the order of non-summoning the respondents did not suffer from any illegality, as the trial court examined all the witnesses the petitioner/complainant desired to produce and intended to rely upon, thus there was a compliance of provisions of Section 202 Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.). They observed that the statement of the complainant did not disclose ingredients essential for criminal conspiracy and abetment on part of the then prime minister and other respondents.

They maintained, “The allegations levelled in the private complaint are not based on direct knowledge derived from any individual but on conjectures and presumptions.”

Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem observed that “It was not a case of mere embellishment, it is an afterthought plea advanced by the petitioner/complainant and is based on motivation.” They held that the allegations did not make a case of abetment, criminal conspiracy or criminal intimidation.”

Majority judges observed, “It is beyond the pale of controversy, that the respondent Nos. 1 to 12 could not be proceeded against, without the complainant having made a prima facie case against them that they hatched up conspiracy for commission of this occurrence. At least, what is alleged in the private complaint and by the complainant and witnesses got in their cursory statements are not in line with the contents of written complaint dated 19-06-2014.’

They observed that the complainant in this case boycotted investigations conducted by two Joint Investigation Teams formed in the case as well as proceedings of one man inquiry tribunal of the high court. They held, `It may not be proper for this court (LHC) to enter into reasoning for non-summoning the respondents as accused at this point of time when no allegation is made against the respondents and proceeding against them on the basis of such complaint would be abuse of process of court.’

Majority judge held that the matter could not be remanded to the ATC for further enquiry in specified manner as the trial court judge applied his judicial mind while recording order of non-summoning respondents as accused, therefore, it could not be said that the reasoning given for non-summoning the respondents as accused by the judge ATC was illegal and perverse.

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