ISLAMABAD - Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry retired four months ago but victims of injustices belonging to far flung areas still come to Supreme Court in search of him.
“I was told by people that there is a judge with the name of I think Iftikhar Chaudhry in Supreme Court who gives justice,” says 52-year old Muhammad Jan who has travelled from Dir city of Tehsil Chakdara of Khyber Pukhtunkhawa province. During the night, Jan slept on a rented bed near the Pirwadai bus station in Rawalpindi.
In spite of the tall claims of KP police about its efficiency after being made independent, the story of Muhammad Jan gives a different impression about the state of affairs. On Thursday an apparently ill Jan approached this scribe asking about “Judge Chaudhry.” He was told about the retirement of the judge and asked about the problem.
“The Dir police implicated me in a false case in 2005 after a personal altercation with a local police Havaldar Bacha Hazrat (currently SHO of Ouch police station Dir) who arrested me and the Qazi court sentenced me to one year imprisonment,” Jan claimed while narrating his ordeal to the scribe. Later on Qazi set him free after three months in jail.
Then, Jan claims, in 2013 another police SHO Member Khan of same police station registered a fake drug case against Jan who after being in jail during the five-month trial was set free by Sessions Judge.
Muhammad Jan is unmarried and suspects that his brothers in connivance with the local police are trying to harass him to deprive him of his due share in the inherited property. “They do not let me in my father’s house as they are more educated and I did not go to school at all.”
Jan wrote a letter to Chief Justice on April 5, 2014 and once back in Dir he was pushed out of his parents house by his five brothers Mehmood Jan, Mian Saeed Jan, Zahid Khan and Shahid Ali. He is requesting the Supreme Court to punish the policemen who abused their authority and help him get his due share in the inherited property. Jan has also approached local revenue authorities in Dir for distribution of inherited land and the house, which he alleges, is being resisted by his brothers in connivance with the local police.
The Supreme Court over the last five years under former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took notice of similar cases under its human rights jurisdiction and granted relief to individuals through strict orders. But with 2 million cases pending in all courts in a population of 180 million people such proceedings at the level of the apex court naturally proved insufficient. However, with expectation of common and poor people from the apex court higher than ever, a sudden restraint in exercising same human rights jurisdiction will be disappointing for many common people. Muhammad Jan is not just one man looking for justice directly through the apex court of Pakistan it has now become an exercise, which even the new Chief Justice is reluctant to roll back immediately.
Jan’s case is also a reflection of the ground realities of policing in KP at the grassroots in spite of the dramatised stories of police reforms in the province being published by English media journalists sitting in Islamabad.