Pakistan Supreme Court Telegraphs Matters of ‘Great Public Importance’

(PKONWEB Report): Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday fired a shotgun of verdicts, directives and orders in matters of great public importance and considered highly significant with far-reaching effect– ruffling feathers of movers and shakers in the political, bureaucratic, and governance domains.

The country’s apex court:

1) Convicted Senator Nihal Hashmi of PML-N (ruling party) for contempt of court. Hashmi, a senior PML-N leader from Karachi, has been sent to serve jail sentence for a month, slapped 50,000 rupees as fine, and handed down 5 years disqualification from seeking any public office. The court dismissed Hashmi’s unconditional apology, which Hashmi had submitted to the court on January 24 for his threatening video message against “those investigating” former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. As the verdict was announced, Hashmi was taken into custody by police from the courtroom and taken to Adiala Jail.

2) Issued contempt of court notice to Federal Minister for State Talal Chaudhry (PML-N leader) for ‘contemptuous speeches’ against the judiciary, and ordered to present himself in the Supreme Court. Trail shall be held in open court, the apex court said. The court was set to hear the matter against the state minister for interior affairs on February 6. While addressing a public gathering in Jaranwala last week, the PML-N stalwart had said: “There was a time when the Kaabah was filled with idols and now the judiciary, the country’s highest institution, is also full of PCO [Provisional Constitution Order] idols.” He went on to say, “Nawaz Sharif, throw them out, throw him out of the court. They will not give justice but will continue their injustices.” On Friday, the apex court served a similar notice to ruling party politician and government office holder Daniyal Aziz. The Federal Minister for Privatization has been asked to appear before the court on February 7.

3) Took suo moto notice of monies stashed away by Pakistanis illegally abroad in foreign banks. The State Bank of Pakistan, SECP, FBR, and the Ministry of Finance have been directed by the court to submit a report regarding the alleged illegal public money lying in foreign banks– a matter of great public importance in exercise of powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. The court ordered the relevant agencies to report about the steps taken, in collaboration with other State institutions for retrieval of the said money.

4) Ordered all investigating and intelligence agencies civil & military) to find and arrest absconding Sindh Police officer Rao Anwar also known as the “encounter specialist”. The Chief Justice said that father of Naqeebullah should not be worried…”I shall take care of this case”. Thr Supreme Court may come to the tribal region called FATA any day, according to reports. Rao Anwar, wanted by the authorities for the extrajudicial killing of the 27-year-old native of FAT’s Waziristan tribal region– killed along with three others in a staged fake encounter in Karachi on January 13, remains at large. On Friday, an intelligence agency raided different addresses in Malir District of Karachi to arrest the former SSP and another police official. Houses of Rao Anwar and former SHO Amanullah Marwat were raided but no arrest was made.

5) In Shahrukh Jatoi Versus State Case, an appeal was filed by civil society against his acquittal. The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the accused Shahrukh Jatoi, Sajjad Talpur and Siraj Talpur in the Shahzeb Khan murder case. The court also converted the matter into suo moto notice. The apex court ordered Sindh High Court to hear an initial plea of the accused to remove death sentence and directed the court to pass a verdict in 60 days on merit. The SC also restored anti-terrorism clauses in the case which were earlier removed by the SHC. Dismissing the SHC’s earlier verdict, the SC ordered for names of the accused to remain on Exit Control List. The chief justice remarked that the victory sign made by Jatoi during one of his initial appearances before the court made a mockery of the judicial system and the people of the country. He remarked that according to Article 187 of the constitution, the court had the right to ensure justice was provided. He asked whether a settlement could be acceptable in a terrorism case.

6) The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar has announced the apex court shall be hearing cases 7 days a week– an unprecedented step in the country’s judicial history.

The chief justice has asserted that no one can pressurize the Supreme Court and the institution itself determines its constitutional limits. Justice Nisar has also asserted that the judiciary is independent and everyone should be proud of it. He promised that they will not let democracy be crippled and ensure the rule of law in the country.

The apex court’s three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice on Friday also noted that the economy of the country is being bled by illegal and surreptitious theft of national wealth which is stashed in foreign countries.

The bench has issued a written order saying that the same money could otherwise be utilized for the welfare of the people in projects such as education, health and public welfare. Such delinquency constitutes violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan and is a matter of great public importance, said the order.

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