–Chief Justice Nisar says govt should crush mob mentality, it will be State’s failure if Aasia Bibi is sent abroad due to security concerns
–Admits lapses in judicial system, says no provision in law to put Aasia’s name on ECL
–Anti-terror judge hearing Barrister Fahad Malik’s murder case is ‘inefficient’
LONDON: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday asserted that it will be the failure of the State if Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who was recently acquitted in Pakistan’s most high-profile blasphemy case, has to be sent abroad for safety.
The chief justice issued these remarks during a meeting with British Pakistani parliamentarians in the committee room of the House of Commons. The meeting was attended by Member of Parliament (MP) Afzal Khan, MP Naz Shah, MP Rehman Chishti, MP Faisal Rasheed, MP Yasmeen Qureshi, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, MP Muhammad Yaseem, MP Khalid Mahmood and Lord Qurban Hussain.
‘PAKISTAN’S JUDICIAL FRAMEWORK IS FAULTY’:
As Sayeeda Warsi and Rehman Chishti raised the issue of Aasia Bibi, the top judge lamented the faults in the judicial framework in Pakistan, arguing that reforms were needed to make it adequate to a modern world so that the citizens can be served quick and speedy justice.
Admitting that he was not above assuming responsibility for the faults in his institution, he said that the case was drawn for eight years without any evidence, including the four years it kept pending in the Supreme Court (SC).
Replying to Warsi who said that Aasia should be offered asylum in the UK, the top judge said that he did not believe she should be given asylum, as it is the Pakistani state’s responsibility to ensure the security of life and property of its citizens.
“If she is sent abroad, it means that the Pakistani state has failed. She should be secure in Pakistan.”
He added that the Pakistani government should not cave in to mob mentality, and “act strongly as there will be no end of such cases” and caving it would mean that it has failed.
“It is the government’s responsibility to safeguard Aasia Bibi.”
Responding to another question inquiring about her name being placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), he said that the law doesn’t account for any such provision and he was confident that the judiciary will not pass an order that opposed its code.
‘ATC JUDGE IN FAHAD MALIK CASE IS INEFFICIENT’:
As the chief justice conversed with British parliamentarians, MP Naz Shah asked a question on the murder of British national and Barrister Fahad Malik, brother of British Pakistani entrepreneur Jawad Malik.
The top judge replied that he agrees there has been a delay in dispensation of justice, adding that he has taken notice of the case.
He added that the performance of the anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge dealing with the case is unsatisfactory, as he has only dealt with two cases in the last two months when he was called to court.
“This case should have been resolved without my personal intervention which indicates an institutional failure.”
Accepting that Pakistan has struggled on different institutional issues, the chief justice commented that the failure of successive government has rendered the judicial and institutional framework of the country inefficacious.
He conceded that parliament has failed to accomplish its work in multiple ways, though he did not want to criticise other state institutions.
He related his visits to different hospitals, where he found that only five ventilators were available, out of which three were not functional and two had been reserved for VIPs.
He also told the audience that there was corruption of Rs4 billion in the Saaf Paani case.
“When I questioned the chief minister, he conceded before the court that not a single drop of water has been produced despite meetings, briefings and task forces.”
Concluding the session, Justice Nisar thanked the Pakistani diaspora in Britain for lending help to Pakistan in need, lauding them for contributions in the Diamer-Bhasha dam fund.