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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court resumed hearing a case pertaining to the transfer of former Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal on Monday.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a suo motu notice of the former DPO’s transfer following an alleged altercation with Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife.
As the hearing went under way, the Punjab advocate general (AG) pleaded with the bench to look at the matter ‘from a different perspective’.
In response, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the facts will remain the same regardless of the perspective.
“The matter was sensitive hence Ahsan Iqbal Jamil spoke with the Punjab chief minister,” the advocate general contended.
To this, the chief justice responded by saying that Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar had not conducted the meeting himself and instead summoned a person, who was not a government official, to do so.
“What kind of language have you and Punjab CM used for Inquiry Officer Khaliq Dad Lak? You are writing this for an excellent officer,” Justice Nisar said while addressing the Punjab advocate general.
Remarking on the probe into the case, the chief justice said he could order a joint investigation team to investigate the matter. He further noted that the Punjab AG had raised objections of personal nature against the inquiry officer.
“The prime minister has said that Usman Buzdar will continue as the Punjab CM till the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is in power. Let the court make it clear; Buzdar will continue as CM only if the court orders the same,” Justice Nisar said.
Further, the top judge expressed his displeasure as the respondents had not expressed regret on their actions.
“What exactly changed about the DPO that he was transferred in the mid of the night?” the chief justice remarked.
In response, former Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) Kaleem Imam expressed regret and sought the court’s forgiveness. “I am sorry for my mistake and leave myself on the mercy of the court,” Imam said.
Responding to Imam’s apology, Justice Nisar directed both him, the Punjab CM and Jamil to submit a written apology to the court. “Use strong words to seek forgiveness,” the chief justice advised.
The Punjab CM along with Jamil and Imam took back their responses to Lak’s report.
“Is this the government that wants to create naya [new] Pakistan?” the chief justice remarked.
All respondents then left the court premises to prepare their written apologies.
Later, the respondents submitted written apologies which were accepted by the Supreme Court.
Accepting the apologies, the bench warned all respondents that the case would be reopened if similar complaints would be received by the apex court in the future.
“Be cautious during the remaining period of my tenure as chief justice,” the top judge advised. “Ahsan Jamil Gujjar your unlawful behaviour won’t be tolerated here. This is Pakistan.” In response, Jamil said that his apology was sincere. “We know that your apology is not sincere,” CJP Nisar said, noting that Jamil’s actions were condemnable.
The SC had given the respondents two options: either to accept Lak’s report and submit written apologies or face a probe by the apex court. All three respondents to the case had accepted the second option.
Moreover, the chief justice lauded Investigation Officer Lak for presenting his report without fearing consequences. “We congratulate you on presenting your brave report. These politicians can do nothing for you, your reward awaits you in the hereafter,” Justice Nisar said.
In October, reports of Gondal’s transfer sparked controversy as speculation suggested that the police officer was transferred because of the August 23 altercation between police and Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife.
According to reports, police personnel under Gondal’s watch tried to stop Maneka at a checkpoint for speeding but he did not stop. The police then chased his vehicle and managed to intercept him.
Then Punjab IGP, Imam, soon after the reports, denied that Gondal was transferred under any pressure and said it was done due to his giving misleading statements about misbehaviour by police personnel with a citizen.