- Top court regrets police’s mistreatment of Maneka’s daughter, orders inquiry against officials concerned
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered an inquiry into the mistreatment allegedly meted out to the daughter of Khawar Fareed Maneka by Pakpattan police personnel and interference in the matter by political personalities.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday took suo motu notice of the controversial transfer of Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Umar Gondal after an alleged argument with the ex-husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra.
During the hearing, the bench directed the Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) to submit the inquiry report after investigating the matter from all aspects within a week.
In the first incident involving the Maneka family and police, some policemen had misbehaved with a female member of the family on August 5. She has now been identified as Mubashira, the daughter of Khawar Maneka and Bushra Bibi.
The CJP remarked that the court is sorry over the mistreatment suffered by Maneka’s daughter at the hands of police.
“The court apologises on behalf of the nation,” Justice Nisar said, adding officials involved in the episode would be strictly punished.
SUSPECTED POLITICAL INTERFERENCE:
The court also ordered Punjab IGP Syed Kaleem Imam to investigate whether DPO Gondal had been summoned to the Chief Minister’s House by Ahsan Jamil Gujjar (a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader from Gujranwala) and the CM’s Chief Security Officer, Umar, following the altercation with Maneka.
Gujjar, said to be an influential person who is close to the Maneka family, and Punjab CM Usman Buzdar had allegedly summoned Gondal to the CM’s office for an ‘explanation’ of the events in Pakpattan shortly before the officer was transferred from his posting.
The CJP remarked during the hearing that it was beyond his understanding why the chief minister would interfere in the matter. He also wanted to know the link between Gujjar and the CM.
But Haider, the personal staff officer (PSO) to the CM claimed that Buzdar had asked him to invite DPO Pakpattan and Regional Police Officer Sahiwal “for tea”. He said he had found out about Gondal’s transfer in the morning, implying that he had no knowledge of the transfer happening the previous night.
When questioned about his role, Gujjar claimed to be the “guardian” of Maneka’s children. This took the CJP by surprise and he asked which court had granted the custody of Maneka’s children to Gujjar when their father himself is alive.
“Are you the guardian of the children?” Justice Nisar inquired from Gujjar, to which the latter responded that he was the unofficial guardian. He apprised the court that Maneka’s children were under pressure and a mutual friend had called him from Africa to intervene in the matter. The chief justice then asked how Gujjar knew Usman Buzdar. “I am a [common] citizen,” Gujjar responded. Justice Nisar further remarked that people could not summon the police to their homes and insult them.
DPO Gondal claimed before the bench that Gujjar had asked him at the CM House to visit Maneka’s Dera in order to apologise. “Gujjar told me that during the British rule, the [Maneka] family’s properties were looked after by the deputy commissioner,” he added.
After Gondal’s statement, the Sahiwal regional police officer (RPO) appeared before the court and seconded the former’s statement. The top judge then remarked why the Punjab CM had heeded a third party’s advice in the matter.
The Punjab IGP then informed the court that he had not asked Gondal to go to the chief minister’s house to which Justice Nisar expressed his anger. “You said that we work around the clock thereby the Pakpattan DPO was transferred at 1pm,” the judge remarked, ordering the provincial police chief to show the written order of the transfer to which the latter responded that the orders were in fact verbally issued.
The IG told the court that he had to make a post-dated written order of the transfer. The chief justice then demanded to see the post-dated order, to which the Punjab IGP said that he did not have the file.
The court also questioned the role of Col Tariq Faisal of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who had apparently phoned the DPO.
When asked why he had interfered in the matter, Col Tariq said he had asked Gondal not to visit anyone’s Dera as both of them had trained together in the past.
“Everyone is lying,” a vexed Justice Nisar said, adding that he will have a departmental inquiry done regarding Faisal.
A teary-eyed Maneka narrated to the court the “inappropriate behaviour” of police that his daughter had to endure on August 5. He quoted her as saying that the police official who misbehaved with her while on duty was drunk.
IG Imam had revealed at the last hearing that the woman had not just been stopped by some policemen but that someone had grabbed her by the arm.
Speaking at the rostrum, Maneka said a “conspiracy” against his family could not be ruled out as the reason behind the chain of events.
He claimed that the police checkpost at which he was stopped in the second incident had not been seen there before then. He also claimed that the first sentence the policemen uttered after stopping him was “Maneka sahib, step out of the car”.
“How did the police know that I was travelling in the car?” he questioned.
The CJP assured him in response that the incident would be investigated from all angles.