ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednes­day proposed an investigation into manipulated court verdicts and political engineering carried out over the last 40 years.

During the hearing of a petition filed by Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) president Salahuddin Ahmed, Attorney General (AG) Khalid Jawed Khan suggested the petitioner to amend the petition and instead of seeking probe into incidents that occurred in the last five years, should demand inquiry into Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s murder trial, toppling of successive governments and attacks on judiciary.

The late former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and Nawaz Sharif had agreed to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in their Charter of Democracy (COD) “to acknowledge victims of torture, imprisonment, state-sponsored persecution, targeted legislation and politically-motivated accountability and to examine and report its findings on military coups and civil removals of governments from 1996”.

“It appears that both the petitioner and attorney general are on the same page as they seek judiciary’s accountability,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said.

Attorney General Khan argued that the present petition of the SHCBA appeared to be a proxy since the events mentioned in the petition were related to a pending appeal. He was referring to Maryam Nawaz’s appeal against her conviction in the Avenfield Apartment reference.

Mr Khan said after the conviction, they had started indiscriminate attacks on the judiciary adding that “this is the season of assailing and attacking the judiciary”.

The IHC chief justice remarked that no aspersion could be cast on the integrity of the petitioner and said, “Salahuddin’s bona fide credentials are established”.

The petitioner was seeking constitution of an independent commission to ascertain the veracity of the letter of former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi in which he accused the then Supreme Court registrar of issuing instructions for nomination of Bilal Rasool as JIT member to investigate assets of the Sharif family.

AG Khan proposed that instead of seeking inquiry into recent events, the petitioner should amend the prayer and include probe into the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, toppling of democratic regimes, securing favourable verdicts from the judiciary, removal of former chief justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah, audio leak of retired Justice Malik Qayyum and so on.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021



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