SHC warns NAB officials of contempt proceedings

Tribune

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has warned officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of initiating contempt of court proceedings if the national anti-corruption watchdog failed to complete the investigations in the corruption case relating to the construction of the Saddar Cooperative Market within the stipulated time.

Director-General NAB Karachi and investigation team appeared on Wednesday before a two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh and Justice Umar Sial following a judicial order.

Investigation officer of NAB informed the bench that no evidences have been found against the accused, Saeed Hassan, therefore the investigation is being closed. The information on the closure of the case has already been conveyed to the NAB Chairman.

Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh remarked that NAB can do whatever it wants, the court will not interfere in any affair of NAB but the court cannot tolerate the delay in investigation against the accused.

“Can you give it in writing that the investigation has been completed and case is being closed”? the bench inquired. Contempt of court proceeding will be initiated against the NAB officials if the investigations are not completed on the given time, warned Justice Sheikh. The court later adjourned the hearing while giving the orders to NAB to complete the inquiry as soon as possible.

Comments sought

The same bench ordered the petitioner’s counsel to file comments on the reply submitted by the federal government on the inclusion of the Sindh Home Secretary’s name in the Exit Control List (ECL).

Deputy Attorney-General Abdul Jabbar Qureshi informed the court that there are 14 cases against Qazi Kabeer and the challans have been submitted in the anti-corruption court.

Petitioner’s lawyer Barrister Faizan Memon argued that the NAB’s inquiry has been suspended, therefore the name should be excluded from the ECL. The inquiry was started in 2013 over allegations of corruption. It has been five years since then but the inquiry hasn’t been completed. Qazi Kabeer is the Home Secretary therefore he keeps going to foreign countries for official visits and he is facing difficulties due to his name on the ECL.

Notice issued

The SHC issued notice on Wednesday to the Treasury and Finance departments of the Sindh Government for not issuing the funds to 13 hospitals being managed by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).

Counsel for the KMC, Advocate Sameer Ghazanfar, informed a two-member bench comprising Justice Hassan Rizvi and Justice Azizur Rehman that the Sindh chief minister announced and approved the provision of funds for the hospitals but the Finance and Treasury departments were not releasing these funds.

The bench was informed that due to non-availability of funds, these health facilities were in great crisis and could not provide medicines and other medical services to the poor patients who visited these hospitals.

The court issued notice to the Treasury and Finance departments to submit their replies by March 21.

Fake encounter case

Another bench of the SHC sought on Wednesday the case record from the police on March 13 over the pleas filed by accused Taimooria Police Station SHO, Tufail Chaudhry, and other officials for the confirmation of their bails in the case of the killing of a citizen in an all

Victim’s mother wailed before a single bench of Justice Nazar Akbar and said that Taimooria police took her two sons into custody when they were going to attend a wedding ceremony on the night of February 1, and killed one of her sons, Bilal, in a fake police encounter. She said that the police was trying to save the SHO and other police officials who were involved in her son’s murder. She also requested the court to order a judicial inquiry into the case. The court sought the case record from the police and adjourned the hearing till March 13.

Disappearance case

Another bench of the high court sought a report from the provincial home department, Sindh Police IG, Rangers DG and others on March 27 over the pleas filed against not registering the case of Zafar Iqbal’s disappearance and the recovery of other missing persons.

A two-member-bench comprising Justice Naimatullah Phulpotto and Justice KK Agha expressed displeasure over not registering the case of Zafar Iqbal’s disappearance.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that Zafar Iqbal was arrested by Rangers in front of his family two years ago. Police were avoiding to register the case against Rangers. Zafar Iqbal’s father visited the SITE Superhighway Police Station repeatedly but the case was not being registered.

The court remarked that it’s the responsibility of the police to register the case of missing persons and that the state should register the case of the missing persons on its own behalf where families were not registering the case.

The court also ordered to check the record of all the jails of the country over the pleas related to the disappearance of citizens Khuwaja Ameer, Faizan and Anees. The bench remarked that a report should be submitted after checking the records of all the detention centers. The political affiliations and mobile phone record of the missing persons should also be checked.

Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto remarked that political affiliation doesn’t mean that a person should be made to disappear. If anyone is involved in any crime, they should be presented before the court.

Plea dismissed

The SHC dismissed a bail plea of an accused in the Chakra Goth incident and asked the trail court to proceed with the case on a daily basis.

Some armed men had attacked a police van in Korangi’s Chakra Goth in 2011, killing more than six police commandos.

A two-member bench of the SHC heard the bail plea filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) activists Gul Muhammad and others.

Azra Iqbal, the counsel for the accused persons, told the court that state was using delaying tactics against his client in the case. The state prosecutor informed the court that witnesses were being produced on court orders. The court sought an updated report by March 8 about the investigations.

The counsel of the accused submitted before the court that innocent people were languishing in prison due to delays in the court proceedings.. ”This is a humanitarian issue,” she said.

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