SUKKUR: Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar disclosed while hearing a petition about rise in dog-bite incidents across the province on Wednesday that ministers were threatening to hit (judges) with rockets and stop their salary in the wake of Sindh High Court Sukkur bench’s decision to suspend Sindh Assembly membership of Faryal Talpur and Gianchand Esrani.

The judge passed the remark when a double bench including him and Justice Faheem Ahmed Siddiqui was hearing a review application filed by PPP MPAs Faryal Talpur and Gianchand Esrani over suspension of their assembly membership.

The court, however, restored the MPAs’ membership after secretary for local bodies submitted in writing it was his department’s responsibility to address dogs’ issue.

Court restores Faryal Talpur, Esrani’s Sindh Assembly membership

The MPAs’ counsel Farooq H. Naek argued before the bench that it was responsibility of local bodies department to check incidents of dogs bite and members of provincial assembly could not be held responsible for it.

Justice Gorar remarked was it not government’s responsibility to check rising cases of dog bite. Were elected representatives not responsible for protecting lives and properties of people? Minister issued him threats that (judges) would be attacked with rockets and their salaries would be stopped, he said.

Naek condemned the threats and said that Pakistan Bar Council would stand by the judge on the serious issue and asked the court to restore membership of MPAs Talpur and Esrani. Though the job of dog culling rested with the local bodies department the MPAs would supervise it in their areas, he assured the bench.

He said the Sindh government would also pay compensation to the victims who died or suffered injuries after dogs’ attacks and secretary of local bodies was ready to submit this in writing. The secretary later submitted the written assurance to the court that the government would pay compensation to the victims of dog bite.

A report submitted to the court by the local bodies department said that 40 union council secretaries and nine chief municipal officers were placed under suspension over slackness in checking dog-bite cases in their areas.

The bench disposed of the case after restoring memberships of the MPAs and ordering that contempt proceedings would be instituted against the secretary for local bodies if dog bite incidents took place in future.

Naek accompanied by PPP leader and advocate Ziaul Hassan Lanjar told media persons outside the court that they condemned threats to the court and reiterated that the issue of dog bite was completely a responsibility of the local bodies department and would remain so in future. The MPAs had nothing to do with it; the court accepted their contention and restored membership of the MPAs, they said.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2021

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