LAHORE: The Punjab caretaker government announced on Friday that it would send a reference against a judge for allegedly facilitating some suspects in the May 9 incidents, when violent protests erupted across the country after PTI chief Imran Khan was arrested.

A meeting presided over by caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi decided that an official reference against the judge would be filed soon for providing “unconstitutional facilitation” to the nominated suspects.

“In the meeting, deep concern was expressed over the illegal facilitation of the nominated accused persons [nominated] in the attack on the ISI office (in Faisalabad). The decision of illegal and unconstitutional facilitation of the nominated accused will be challenged,” the government said in a statement.

The participants noted that facilitating these suspects was equivalent to the murder of justice and stressed on a vigorous follow-up of the cases filed against the miscreants who damaged and tor­ch­­ed public, private and army properties.

Meeting chaired by interim Punjab CM says facilitating rioters is ‘murder of justice’

The commissioners and regional police officers should hold daily meetings to supervise the prosecution process, they noted.

They said those who attacked army installations and public assets did not deserve any concession. “May 9 was a dark chapter in the history of Pakistan when terrorism was carried out under a nefarious plan,” it said.

The meeting was briefed that the accused people were being identified and arrested through geo-fencing, intelligence reports, social media, Nadra data and communication of the suspects with the PTI’s top leadership.

It said some 628 calls of the suspects with top party leaders in Lahore had been traced.

References against sitting judges are sent to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The federal government has also sent references against Supreme Court judges to the council over their alleged misconduct, but proceedings have yet to start.

On Monday, the National Assembly approved the formation of a five-member special house committee to “prepare and forward” references against top court judges.

The motion seeking the formation of the committee under Article 209 of the Constitution was moved by a PPP lawmaker after several MNAs called for action against Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and other like-minded judges for allegedly “facilitating” the PTI chairman by providing a blanket relief in the form of bail in all the cases.

The committee would comprise Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha of the

PML-N, Khursheed Junejo of the PPP, Shehnaz Baloch of the Balochistan Awami Party, Salahuddin of MQM-P and Salahuddin Ayubi of JUI-F.

The lawmakers also delivered anti-judiciary speeches at a time when the three-judge bench headed by the CJP was hearing the Punjab polls case and thousands of the workers of the ruling coalition parties were converging on the Constitution Avenue for a sit-in outside the apex court’s building.

Later on Monday, CJP Umar Ata Bandial asked political opponents to sit together again for talks. “It is distressing to note the way the political forces are aggravating the confrontation as a result of which people are losing rights, institutions are being burnt, [have come] under serious threat and being challenged and ridiculed,” he regretted.

The bench, which also comprised Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, then postponed further proceedings till May 23.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2023

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