ISLAMABAD: The attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) informed the Supreme Court that an Inquiry Commission has been notified to probe factors for failing to implement its judgment on Faizabad dharna (sit-in).
AGP Usman Mansoor Awan said that the government under Inquiry Commission Act, 1956, has set up the Commission to investigate and identify the persons responsible for Faizabad dharna and recommend legal action against them, and issued its notification dated 15-11-23.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah, on Wednesday, heard the petitions of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Military Intelligence (MI), and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the army, Ministry of Defence, the PTI, MQM-P, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), President AML Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, and President PML-Z Ijazul Haq.
The commission would be headed by a retired PSP officer Syed Akhtar Ali Shah and comprise former Inspector General of Police Tahir Alam Khan and Additional Secretary Ministry of Interior Khushal Khan.
The bench expressed confidence in the federal government’s inquiry commission. The CJP remarked that a good step had been taken and it was not appropriate to doubt the commission right now.
The AGP read the Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the notification and accepted that one point is missing, and that will be considered by the Commission whether it was co-incidental or on the instruction of the same source to file and withdraw the review petitions.
He said that the said amendment would be made to the notification within a week. The Court noted that this would establish a substantial piece of evidence.
The Commission shall initiate the inquiry immediately after the notification of its constitution and shall conclude the inquiry and submit its report to the federal government within two months.
The federal government, intelligence agencies and a number of persons had filed review petitions against the Supreme Court judgment in Faizabad dharna. However, those petitions were withdrawn when a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, started hearing them on September 28, 2023.
The bench had dismissed the petitions of the Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Quami Movement, Pakistan Muslim League-Zia, Awami Muslim League, Pemra, and ECP, as withdrawn.
Absar Alam, journalist and former Pemra chief, assured the bench that he would appear before the Commission. He; however, raised objections to the inclusion of two retired civil servants in the commission. Absar stated he doubts how the retired bureaucrats will be able to summon the ex-PM, former army chief and ex-DG ISI.
The chief justice questioned what the basis of his doubts was, asking why he doubted events which have not taken place. Absar replied that the basis of his doubts is the history of our country. He said that he had not approached the apex court for reinstatement to his previous position.
Justice Faez said they would not go with the apprehensions, adding the government earlier had formed the fact-finding committee, but now it has constituted the commission. He said that in 60 days it will be transpired whether the members are capable of performing the assigned task. He asked Absar, “Don’t give up, just watch.”
Justice Athar said under the constitution each institution has different functions to perform.
At the onset of the proceedings, the chief justice asked Sheikh Rasheed’s lawyer Sardar Abdul Razziq why the review plea in the first place was filed, adding since 2019 the case had been pending, but one day suddenly the instruction came from somewhere and the petition is withdrawn. The CJP said Pakistan is not a joke.
Razziq responded that it was filed due to some misunderstanding. “Everyone knew the truth, but nobody talked about it. Nobody has the courage,” the CJP said. Rasheed’s lawyer said these days, especially, it is hard to speak the truth and gather courage.
“Is the Supreme Court being controlled from outside? You’re still not speaking the truth about who asked to file the review petition,” remarked the CJP. Rasheed’s lawyer responded that nobody had asked him to file it. “Those who were MNAs and ministers are responsible, aren’t they,” CJP Isa asked. “If you order arson and violence, then stand by it too. Say that you supported it.”
The hearing is adjourned until January 22.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023