SC declares probe into attacks on journalists ‘unsatisfactory’

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) deemed the investigation into the torture and kidnapping case of journalists Asad Toor, Absar Alam, and Matiullah Jan “unsatisfactory” on Monday, and ordered the appointment of competent investigative officers to handle the cases.

During the hearing of the case against harassment of journalists, a three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa expressed anger over the lack of progress in the investigation concerning journalist Matiullah Jan’s ‘abduction’ case.

The apex court ordered publishing the sketches of the journalist’s attackers in newspapers and advertising a reward amount for the suspects’ arrest. The SC granted Islamabad police 30 days.

The case was adjourned till June, with the date of hearing to be fixed later.

The court also ordered to send the complete CCTV footage of the kidnappers in the Matiullah Jan case to Punjab forensic lab.

The court began the hearing by calling the senior superintendent of police (SSP) to the rostrum.

“There is a recording of the incident, why were the kidnappers still not found?” the CJP inquired. The SSP denied there was any CCTV footage of the incident.

This angered the CJP, who then questioned whether the SSP was “recruited into the police force to lie”. CJP Isa said the “officer was insulting the police uniform”.

The court affirmed the existence of a recording in response to the SSP’s assertion of its absence and inquired about written evidence. The SSP replied in the affirmative regarding the availability of written evidence.

The CJP inquired how long had the SSP been in the police force. “13 years,” the police officer responded.

Irked by the SSP’s responses, CJP Isa then instructed the additional attorney general (AAG) to “suspend him immediately”.

The AAG apologized on behalf of the SSP. However, the CJP asked, “Why pardon [such officers], why not take action against them? Take action!”

He further expressed his discontent, stating, “I am not at all satisfied with them. They are making a joke.”

“Just because we don’t say anything doesn’t mean you can throw stones at us.”

Earlier during the proceedings, Chakwal residents who filed applications in the case, Raja Sher Bilal, Abrar Ahmed, and Muhammad Asif appeared in court and were advised to file a petition in the court of law instead of filing it in the chamber of the court.

However, the applicants denied filing petitions in the apex court.

“How did someone use your name and residential address? Will you file FIRs against those who file petitions without your permission?” the CJP inquired.

Advocate Rafaqat Hussain Shah, the advocate on record, said the counsel who filed the petitions has passed away.

Questioning the applicants’ lawyer Haider Waheed about his exclusive clientele from Chakwal, the CJP criticized the “lectures” given to the courts on television on how to conduct themselves.

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