ISLAMABAD: A counsel representing one of the police officers facing contempt of court cases for roughing up former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry demanded a similar action against those who detained him for hours on March 9, 2007.
Mohammad Ibrahim Satti, the counsel for Superintendent of Police (SP) Jameel Hashmi, read out before a bench of the Supreme Court an affidavit furnished by then Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry along with his petition against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to narrate how four top serving army officers forced and pressured him into resigning at the then president’s camp office in Rawalpindi but allowed him to leave later in a flagless car after keeping him confined for over five hours.
“Stern action should also be initiated against those who misbehaved with the former chief justice,” the counsel pleaded.
However, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, a member of the five-judge larger bench, observed that the court was not seized with the matter.
Counsel for police officers facing contempt cases says top army officers also pressured Iftikhar Chaudhry to resign in 2007
When this issue will come up, the court will decide what to do, he observed.
Acting Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was heading the bench, wondered if a chief justice can be deposed simply because a former director general Military Intelligence had said so when the only body set up under the Constitution in this regard was the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
The court had taken up a set of appeals moved by seven former senior members of the capital administration and police personnel convicted for roughing up the then chief justice on March 13, 2007.
The appeals were moved against the Nov 1, 2007, order of the Supreme Court which had sentenced Islamabad’s senior administration officials and police personnel for manhandling Justice Chaudhry by preventing him from marching towards the apex court to answer the allegation of misuse of office before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
However, soon after the announcement, the sentence was suspended for 15 days on the request of the convicts for filing appeals.
Former Islamabad chief commissioner Khalid Pervaiz and deputy commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali were sentenced to imprisonment till rising of the court, former IGP Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed and SSP Zafar Iqbal sentenced to 15 days in jail and DSP Jamil Hashmi, inspector Rukhsar Mehdi and ASI Mohammad Siraj to one-month imprisonment.
Later, a 10-member bench barred the respective departments from taking any adverse action against the appellants till pendency of the appeals.
The counsel argued that despite repeated requests by the police, the former chief justice decided to reach the Supreme Court on foot to attend the SJC proceedings which had summoned him. The chief justice had been informed by the police officers that it was for the sake of his own safety that he should not go to the court by foot because lawyers were on the roads staging protest demonstrations all around.
Even the then, the IGP tendered an apology in the presence of the then prime minister Zafarullah Jamali at the Balochistan House after the incident of manhandling had occurred, the counsel added.
But the court observed that it was an unforgiving offence to breach the dignity of a judge, adding misbehaviour with judges cannot be tolerated.
“How we can tolerate manhandling of a judge when the Constitution does not allow violating the self-esteem of even a common man,” wondered the acting chief justice.
Senior counsel Khalid Ranjha, who was representing ex-IGP Chaudhry Iftikhar, said his client was seeking pardon by offering an unconditional apology in the same fashion as the police officers did earlier. But Justice Ahmed wondered whether manhandling of the then chief justice was a pardonable offence.
The court will resume the case again on Tuesday.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018