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Bar seeks better security measures at City Courts

February 17, 2017

KARACHI: Expressing grave concern over the existing security arrangements at the City Courts, the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) on Thursday asked the provincial authorities to enhance security at the subordinate judiciary.

In the wake of the recent incidents of terrorism in the country, KBA secretary general Khalid Nawaz Marwat wrote a letter to the provincial chief secretary and informed him that the City Courts housed around 200 courts. Besides, around 800 undertrial prisoners and dozens of newly-arrested suspects, hundreds of people daily visited City Courts.

However, he said that proper security arrangements were not in place, adding that six walk-through gates, installed at the entry points, were out of order.

The letter said that around 100 police personnel, including policewomen, were required to guard the City Courts, but currently there were only 61 policemen for round-the-clock security and most of them were not equipped with hand scanners.

A comprehensive security plan for the City Courts was proposed at a meeting headed by then-chief justice of the Sindh High Court Sarmad Jalal Osmany in February 2010 and it was finalised in April of that year after a series of meetings.

Initially, the plan was aimed at strictly monitoring the movement of people by increasing the number of policemen at the City Courts police station, raising the surrounding walls of the facility, installing walk-through gates and surveillance cameras at the entry and exit points.

It was also decided that under the security plan, separate gates would be used for entry and exit while stickers would be issued for vehicles and no vehicle without a sticker could enter the premises. Policewomen would be posted at each entrance and hand-held scanners would also be given to the guards to check every person entering the courts.

However, the legal fraternity said that the plan was never implemented properly.

Controversial content on Facebook

A sessions court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday to lodge a case regarding alleged blasphemous content on a social website if a cognisable offence was made out.

The district sessions judge (east) directed the FIA to record a statement of the applicant under Section 154 of the criminal procedure code and register an FIR accordingly if any cognizable offence was made out.

Mohammad Jawaid through his lawyer moved an application under Section 22-A of the criminal procedure code and contended that what he considered blasphemous contents were uploaded on some pages of Facebook and he had approached the FIA cyber-crime wing to arrest the persons involved in it.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2017