ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday ordered installation of high-resolution CCTV cameras at all premises of courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad within 48 hours. Besides directing the authorities to ensure speedy compensation amount to the families of victims of Islamabad District court terrorist attack.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani heard the suo moto case related to the terror attack at a court in Islamabad also known as F-8 Katcheri.
Appearing on notice, Interior Secretary Shahid Ullah Khan submitted a report pertaining to the terrorist attack. He told the court that all the walkthrough gates at the district court were dysfunctional and no CCTV camera was installed there in District Katchery.
The court directed the secretary to make functional within 48 hours the high resolution CCTV cameras at all courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad besides directing him to ensure compensation amount by Tuesday evening to the families of victims of Islamabad district court terrorist attack.
The court directed the IG Islamabad to file a concise statement before the next date of hearing (Monday) about the number of police deployed in the district court, how many were present at the time of the incident and how many fired at the attackers. The court also directed the Chief Commissioner Islamabad to file a similar statement before the next date of hearing.
The court also directed presidents of District Bar and Islamabad High Court who are also the eyewitness of the incident to file their respective statements, explaining what they saw and how despite their efforts the response from police was lukewarm as they did not fire upon the attackers.
Upon the request of Tausif Asif, ex-president Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench, the court directed the interior secretary to ensure arrangements of lights at the district court.
The interior secretary presented details of the attack. He told that normally 66 policemen are posted at the court.
The Chief Justice inquired about the number of policemen deployed at the time of the attack and how many of them were armed. Interior secretary replied that 47 policemen were on duty, but he was not aware of how many were armed.
The Chief Justice upon that asked why the attackers were not fired at. Shahid Ullah replied when the police fired, the terrorist blew himself up. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, another member of the bench, observed that it seems that no one was interested in ensuring ample security, adding as per media reports, the firing lasted for 45 minutes and not a single policeman was present there at the time of the incident.
The secretary said the police reached the spot within five to 10 minutes. “Had the police reached at the venue in 7 minutes, such a destruction would not have taken place and newspapers were full of reports that police arrived after 45 minutes,” Justice Khilji Arif Hussain told the interior secretary.
The Chief Justice asked the secretary as to why he failed to take ample security measures in the district court by installing walkthrough gates despite the fact that there was a threat of terrorist attack, adding that the walkthrough gates were dysfunctional.
During the hearing, some lawyers told the court that police were in tracksuits and demanded that strict security measures should be taken at all the entry points of district courts. One lawyer told the court that the police fired upon his request.
The Chief Justice expressed anger over the lack of CCTV cameras at the courts despite the presence of terror threats in Islamabad.
The court on the issue of shifting of Islamabad High Court to the venue of Federal Shariat Court and shifting of District Courts to Islamabad High Court ruled that the instant petitions would soon be taken up.
Talking to reporters outside the court, President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Kamran Murtaza said the incumbent government has totally failed to provide adequate security to the people of the federal capital hence it has lost its mandate and has no right to rule.
He said that till to date, not a single person was arrested and the government has completely failed to maintain law and order situation even in the federal capital.
“The interior minister is playing cricket and inviting people for playing cricket and if he has the moral courage, he should immediately resign from his slot,” Kamran Murtaza said, adding that the attackers were in 10 to 15 in numbers and the police even did not know about it.
He questioned that when there was already security threat in the federal capital then why stringent security measures were not taken.
Speaking on the occasion, Ramzan Chaudhry, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council said that there was no writ of the government, adding it was the constitutional duty of the government to ensure security measures at the district court in the wake of already security threat.
He said the legal fraternity across the country will observe mourning for one week adding that from Wednesday the lawyers will appear before the courts with black strips around their hands. He demanded of the government to take effective measures for security within a week otherwise they would boycott the courts.