LAHORE, Dec 23: The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned till Friday (today) appeals filed by three men challenging their conviction in a grenade attack on a Taxila church on Aug 9, 2002, and directed Additional IG Mushtaq Sukhera to entrust investigation to a senior police officer and personally supervise the proceedings. On Friday, the court will hear arguments on statements of witnesses, including a magistrate.

Appellants Saifur Rehman, Muhammad Ayaz, and Abu Bakar were given death sentence by an anti-terrorism court of Rawalpindi on March 31, 2004. The Lahore High Court confirmed their death sentence on Dec 12, 2006.

According to the prosecution, the convicts had attacked the church on Aug 9, 2002 which left four Christian women and 25 other men and women injured.

Besides raising several technical objections, the appellants’ counsel contended that the police had implicated his clients for their participation in Afghan Jihad. He said though his clients had been fighting the “holy war”, they had not committed any terrorist activity on Pakistani soil.

When the court resumed hearing of the appeals on second consecutive day, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that police’s inefficiency was bringing a bad name to the judiciary.

“Investigation lacking evidence leaves the courts with no option but to acquit the accused in high-profile cases,” the chief justice said while expressing displeasure over the investigation carried out in the case.

“We do not want to award unnecessary punishments but police’s failure in producing evidence against the accused compels us to release them unpunished,” the CJP added.

At the outset, the bench consisting of Chief Justice Chaudhry, Justice Jawad S. Khawaja and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday noticed that the police investigators had taken the case as a petty crime incident and showed their ‘usual’ performance, whereas the case required to be investigated by skilled officers.

The CJP summoned additional inspector-general Mushtaq Sukhera on a short notice so that he could have first-hand knowledge of what his investigators had been doing with a high-profile case.

“You have to take effective measures to make the investigation process better,” the CJP directed the additional IG when the latter appeared before the apex court.

Pointing out many lacunae in investigation, the chief justice directed the additional IG to ask his investigators to assist prosecutors so that punishment to criminals could be ensured.

The chief justice said that investigating agencies across the world attached top priority to protect witnesses but in Pakistan nobody dares to testify merely to save his or her life.

“Have you ever thought about this aspect?” Justice Ramday asked the additional IG adding that who would come to courts if the police did not ensure his/her protection.

Justice Ramday reminded the additional IG that his investigators had miserably failed in finding any clue to the attackers even though one of the attackers was killed on the spot with his national identity card in his pocket.

Opinion

Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...

Editorial

11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...