SC shames DG NAB Lahore for putting PU ex-vice chancellor, professors in handcuffs

Published October 13, 2018
Ex-vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and four other former administrative officials of the Punjab University (PU) being taken away by NAB officials in handcuffs. —DawnNewsTV
Ex-vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and four other former administrative officials of the Punjab University (PU) being taken away by NAB officials in handcuffs. —DawnNewsTV

The Supreme Court on Saturday convened a suo motu hearing on the matter of ex-Punjab University vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and four other former university officials being brought to a court in handcuffs.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Kamran and the other professors over allegations of corruption, illegal appointments and nepotism and brought them to court to seek physical remand.

The chief justice of Pakistan on Friday had taken notice of the "disrespectful" way the professors had been handcuffed and brought to court.

At the outset of the hearing, Director General NAB Lahore Saleem Shahzad issued an apology before the court and conceded that it had been a mistake to handcuff the teachers as it inadvertently humiliated them.

"I am deeply ashamed and ask the whole nation for forgiveness," he said.

The court ordered Shahzad to personally apologise to Kamran and the other professors and instructed that a written apology also be submitted to the court.

"If you are at fault, I will give instructions for the registration of a case against you," Chief Justice Saqib Nisar warned, adding: "Then you can go around seeking bail and I can put you in handcuffs [for the world to see]."

Upon hearing this, Shahzad got teary-eyed, prompting the chief justice to further remark: "Now that you yourself are in the hot seat, you are moved to tears."

Scrambling to offer some explanation for decision to arrest the PU professors, the DG NAB said: "We put Mujahid Kamran in handcuffs due to security reasons. I have gone and personally apologised to him and the other professors."

The NAB prosecutor, in the bureau's defense, continued: "We have done a great deal to fight corruption."

"What have you done? What has NAB done?" CJP Nisar retorted, adding that NAB had done "nothing but make a mockery out of people".

"I had high hopes for you, but look at what you're doing. If you are not fit to serve this post then you must leave it," he said, addressing Shahzad.

"Tell me, do you want to work for this institution or not? You put into handcuffs people who provided education to children. I saw the video [of the handcuffed university officials] at 12 in the night and called up the NAB chairman. He said he was unaware of the incident and assured me that the Lahore DG NAB will satisfy me in this regard," the chief justice said.

"Putting Mujahid Kamran and other professors in handcuffs is akin to killing their dignity. I will not tolerate the disrespect of teachers in this manner," the chief justice warned.

The hearing concluded with the submission of DG Shahzad's written apology, which was accepted by the court.

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