LAHORE: A two-member bench of the Supreme Court on Sunday reprimanded Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers Malik Karamat Khokhar and Nadeem Abbas Bara for influencing the police in a land grabbing investigation and asked them to appear before it in Islamabad on Monday.

“If the inquiry proves that you called the police to stop them from arresting Mansha, you will not return [from the court] as a member of the National Assembly,” warned Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar before summoning PTI’s MNA Khokhar to the apex court on Monday. The CJP also asked PTI’s MPA Bara to bring along his resignation letter, telling him that the court would see if he should be forgiven or not.

The bench was hearing the petition of an overseas Pakistani, Mahmood Ashraf, at the SC’s Lahore registry against the police ‘reluctance’ to take action against suspect, Mansha alias Bomb, who had allegedly grabbed his property.

CJP asks MNA Khokhar if this is the Naya Pakistan the PTI is claiming to build; orders arrest of Mansha alias Bomb

The CJP asked MNA Khokhar “if this is the Naya Pakistan the PTI is claiming to build. Have people voted for you to support land grabbers?”

The court had earlier asked superintendent of police Maaz Zafar about the suspect, Mansha alias Bomb. The officer apprised the SC that Mansha was the “member of a top land grabbing group” in Johar Town. The SP said Mansha and his sons were involved in more than 70 land grabbing cases, which were registered against them in Johar Town.

“As police had taken action [against land grabbing] on the direction of the court, they started receiving calls to stop the operation,” the officer claimed.

When the CJP inquired about the identity of those who had attempted to influence the police, the officer said PTI’s MNA Malik Karamat Khokhar had asked them not to arrest Mansha alias Bomb.

CJP Nisar immediately summoned PTI’s MNA Malik Karamat Khokhar to the apex court. Subsequently, when the MNA appeared in court he was accompanied by PTI’s MPA Nadeem Abbas Bara though the latter had not been summoned. Apparently, Mr Bara accompanied his party leader to tell the court that SP Maaz had registered false cases against him for firing in the air and manhandling of a police officer after the July 25 general elections.

However, Mr Khokhar denied any association with the land grabber and informed the court that he would have called DIG Operations and not SP Zafar.

The chief justice then summoned the DIG and warned the MNA that if the “inquiry proves that you called the police to stop them from arresting Mansha, you will not return [from the court] as a member of the National Assembly.

MPA Bara breaks into tears

Meanwhile, MPA Bara broke into tears and said SP Maaz had registered false cases against him. He said: “I will resign if proven guilty in these cases.”

The CJP replied: “Why don’t you go ahead and resign first? Let me tell you why...because you lack the courage to do so.

“You people become thugs outside the court but shed tears here.”

The CJP said he would not allow any thug to reside in Pakistan and then issued orders to the police authorities to arrest Mansha and his sons and adjourned the hearing till 3.30pm.

As the hearing resumed after the break, DIG Operations Shehzad Akbar appeared before the court and said Mr Khokhar had called him to seek release of Mansha’s son.

Subsequently, the SC issued a notice to PTI’s MNA Khokhar for lying before the court and asked him and MPA Bara to appear before it in Islamabad on Monday (today).

The CJP asked MNA Khokhar, “Why don’t we initiate contempt proceedings against you for your wrong testimony? You recorded your statement before the court that you do not know who Mansha was. Then why did you call the DIG for the release of his son?

“Someone who lies cannot be Sadiq and Ameen. If you lie to the people, how will you answer to them?”

The CJP also ordered the DIG Operations not to accept pressure from anyone, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, and realize the power of police uniform. The DIG assured the court that he would fulfil his responsibilities.

When MPA Bara regretting his decision to accompany the MNA (to the court) begged for forgiveness, CJP Nisar asked him to also travel to Islamabad tomorrow (today). “We will see if you should be forgiven or not,” he said. “Bring your resignation letter with you, or I will write it for you,” he added.

Just a couple of days after winning the July 25 general elections, PTI’s MPA Bara and his supporters were found involved in thrashing Hanjarwal Station House Officer (SHO) Rana Afzal and his driver Mumtaz. Taking suo motu notice of firing into the air and manhandling of the police officials, the chief justice had ordered immediate arrest of MPA Bara who along with his seven accomplices later appeared before the court and surrendered. An anti-terrorism court then granted bail to MPA Bara and his seven accomplices in the case against surety bond of Rs50,000 each.

Model Town case

While hearing a petition of a Model Town firing victim, a two-member SC bench, headed by CJP Nisar, told the petitioner Basma that the apex court would look into the matter if an appeal against the high court’s verdict was filed.

The court also summoned the Model Town case report from an anti-terrorism court.

Besides victim Basma, Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Khurram Nawaz Gandapur also appeared before the bench which took up the matter for hearing at Lahore registry of the Supreme Court.

Earlier, Basma apprised the SC that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had rejected a petition to summon ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif in the Model Town case.

As many as 14 people were killed and 100 others wounded in a police action during what officials described as anti-encroachment operation in Model Town on June 17, 2014.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2018