- CJP Nisar visits house of SC judge; Shahbaz Sharif orders probe into incidents
- PM, Pak Army, PTI chief, PPP co-chairman condemn firing incidents
- Lawyers call off strike after CJP Nisar’s appeal
LAHORE: Two separate firing incidents were reported outside the residence of Supreme Court (SC) Justice Ijazul Ahsan’s residence on Sunday, a statement by apex court stated.
According to SC’s PRO, Justice Ijazul Ahsan’s residence was targeted twice – first at 4:30am and then 9:00am on Sunday. No casualties were reported in both incidents.
According to police officials, the judge’s private security guard, Din Mohammad, discovered a 9mm bullet casing inside the residence at 6am on Sunday after which the police were called in.
Police officials said the shell has been sent for forensic analysis, adding that they are also reviewing footage of CCTV cameras in the area.
Another bullet was recovered from the garage of the house.
Following the incident, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar visited the residence of Justice Ahsan and called Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz Khan to probe the incidents. The chief justice is said to be overseeing the situation himself.
Similarly, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif took the notice of the incident and ordered the inspector general to present the report and bring the culprits to the book.
The personal secretary to Sharif, who visited the SC judge’s residence to meet him, was refused a meeting by the SC administration.
A First Information Report (FIR) about the incident was also filed in Model Town police station against unknown persons under the Anti-Terrorism Act and u/s 324, 506-B, 427 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). A committee was also formed under the chairmanship of DIG Investigation Chaudhry Sultan Ahmad and comprising of SSP Investigation Ghulam Mubashar Maiken, CIA SP Nadeem Abbas and Model Town SP Investigation Shakir Ahmad Shahid.
According to the preliminary observations of the Crime Scene Unit (CSU), the first shot that hit the main gate of the house could be a stray bullet which was fired from a distance and was on the final stage of its parabolic trajectory.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi “strongly condemned” the incident and directed the authorities concerned at the federal and provincial level to bring the culprits to the task at the earliest.
Moreover, former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari called for a high-level investigation into the incident.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan condemned the attack and said, “Sicilian-mafia-like tactics to pressurise senior judiciary are unacceptable in any democracy.” He also asked Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif to resign from his post.
The PTI chief further tweeted that PTI “stands firmly behind the judiciary and the rule of and this is one reason behind party’s April 29 Minar-e-Pakistan jalsa”.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Parvez Elahi also condemned the incident.
PPP leader Senator Rehman Malik strongly condemned the firing on the residence of the SC judge and demanded an immediate inquiry and a fair investigation into the incident.
“It is unfortunate that even residences of our judges are not protected,” he said.
He said that such attacks aimed to impact the rule of law and to horrify the judiciary but he believed that such coward tactics would not be successful.
The senator said that it was the duty of every citizen of the country to respect and protect the institutions.
Pakistan Army on Sunday condemned the firing incidents at the residence of the SC judge.
A statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “Firing incidents at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan are condemnable”.
“All stakeholders should ensure a secure environment for the effective functioning of the state institutions and continue the efforts to consolidate improving peace and stability,” the statement added.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) condemned the firing incidents and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.
“Lawyers of the whole country are standing with the SC judges,” SCBA Secretary Safdar Tarar said in a statement, while LHCBA President Anwarul Haq said the lawyers were soldiers of the SC judges.
Condemning the attacks, SCBA President Kaleem Ahmed Khursheed said that such attacks could not weaken the judiciary’s resolve, adding that the lawyers’ fraternity from around the country was standing behind the judiciary. He urged the SC stakeholders to hold an immediate meeting and announce future course of action pertaining the matter.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Barrister Waqqas Mir condemned the attacks said that the government should investigate the incident and make the findings public.
Condemning the incident, Barrister Muhammad Ahmad Pansota told Pakistan Today, “The attacks can be interpreted as an attempt to silence the judiciary. Justice Ijazul Ahsan was on the bench that gave the verdict of the Panama Papers case and this itself says a lot about incident because one must look at the beneficiaries of the attacks to understand the reason behind it.”
Advocate Naeem Bukhari also condemned the incident and said that the attackers wanted to send a message to the chief justice.
Meanwhile, the legal community announced to wear black armbands in protest on Monday.
CJP APPEALS TO BAR COUNCIL TO CALL OFF THE STRIKE:
CJP Nisar on Sunday appealed to all bar councils to call off the strike scheduled for Monday. He also requested the legal fraternity to attend the courts on Monday for sake of dispensation of justice to litigants whose cases were already fixed for hearing on Monday in different courts.
He said that litigant parties would come from far flung areas to attend courts, therefore, the strike would not only disturb routine court proceedings but also hurt the expectations of the people.
He also extended his thanks and gratitude to all bar councils for their unflinching support to the SC during difficult moments.
Lawyers accepted his appeal and called off the strike.
Justice Ahsan was the part of the five-member bench that heard the high profile Panama Papers case which led to the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
He was also part of the three-member bench hearing the 17 petitions against controversial Election Act 2017. The bench ruled that an individual disqualified under Article 62 and 63 cannot hold the chairmanship of a political party, leading to Nawaz Sharif losing the presidency of PML-N.
He is also the monitoring judge of the ongoing corruption cases in accountability court, filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB), against Nawaz Sharif, his family and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.
Further, Justice Ahsan often spends his weekends in Lahore, where he, along with the chief justice, presides several cases related to public welfare in Supreme Court’s Lahore registry.
Justice Ahsan completed his LLB from Punjab University Law College and completed his postgraduate from Cornell University. He was elevated to the bench in 2009 and appointed as a judge of Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2011. He has served as the inspecting judge of Gujranwala, Kasur and Lahore Districts. In 2015, he was appointed as LHC chief justice and elevated to the apex court in 2016.