ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Friday directed Khawar Manika, ex-husband of first lady Bushra Khan, and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Colonel to appear before the court on Monday in the matter of controversial transfer of Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal.
The top court also directed Jamil Gujjar involved in the transfer matter and DIG Headquarters Shahzada Sultan, Chief Minister Punjab’s Chief Security Officer and Secretary to also appear before the court.
The court directed IGP Kalim Imam to ensure the presence of summoned officials on the date of hearing. It further directed all the summoned police officials in the case present in the court room to also submit their undertakings.
Observing that it will examine if the public office, the office of chief minister, was misused, the top court told Punjab’s Additional Advocate General Qasim Chohan to read court judgements on Article 62(1) of the Constitution before appearing on the next date of hearing, the September 3.
The directives were issued after the first hearing of a suo motu on Pakpattan Incident after which the DPO was transferred on account of his refusal of tendering an apology from Manika despite pressure from Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and Manika Family’s closed friend Ahsan Jamil Gujjar. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan took up the case for hearing whereby IG Punjab Kalim Imam, Head of Inquiry Committee Addition IG Punjab Abubakar Khudabux, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sahiwal Sharuq Kamal and Rizwan Gondal, now OSD, appeared.
Throughout the hearing, the bench’s focus was on whose instructions the DPO was ordered to report to Central Police Office (CPO) and that the police department should get rid out of the politicisation and influence.
When the hearing commenced, the chief justice asked: “What is the story for which the entire nation has been obsessed since last 5 days?”
He also made it clear to everyone and remarked that the Court wanted the police to be independent and empowered.
IGP Imam took the rostrum and tried to dispel the impression that he was influenced for transferring the DPO stating that he never sought dictation and had been serving since 31 years with honesty, adding he also worked with the United Nation and had also been conferred award from government on performance.
The bench was not inspired by the apparent self-projection of IGP. The chief justice snubbed the IGP and asked: “Is this the kind of service you (IGP) have been performing that you transferred a DPO. Is this the right way to issue transfer order at 01am night?”
The CJ further inquired as to what circumstances necessitated the issuance of transfer order at night. He further questioned as to why the DPO was asked for tendering apology and why a police officer should go to Dera, a drawing-room like place mostly landlords build adjacent to their residence.
Chief justice then inquired about Khawar Manika and Ahsan Jamil Gujjar that where are they. “We want to get the police out of political influence but IGP himself spoiling the efforts for the purpose.”
“We empowered police through our judgment in the case of IG Sindh A.D. Khwaja and strengthened the department so that they perform their duty without being influenced by the political elements,” remarked chief justice.
IGP Kalim said that he could state on oath that he never acted on direction of politicians adding that the transfer of DPO Rizwan Gondal was purely an administrative order.
“Whether you did not restrain the DPO and whether you did not convey the high-ups to not to summon any police officer directly,” chief justice asked the IGP.
“Gondal visited CM’s office without taking me into confidence but after that I have instructed the DPO not to go again without my permission,” IGP Imam responded, adding what Gondal told him was not factually correct. IGP went on to contend that he knew through the department's sources and Special Branch that Gondal distorted the facts.
“Neither anyone directs me for the decisions nor do I take dictation from anyone. You can go and ask anybody,” the IGP Imam contended in the loud voice. The bench expressed its anguish and admonished the IGP for his ill-manners to address the court.
Justice Bandial grilled IG and told him: "Mr. IG, you are too egoistic. How dare you are addressing the court in such a way." The CJ told IGP: “You are an officer of BS-21 and serving on the post of BS-22. We can suspend you right now.”
CJ told the IGP: "if you will misguide this court then you will not return from this court as IGP." IGP Imam, however, tendered an apology for his behaviour. During the hearing, IGP Imam informed the bench that a woman, who was daughter of the first lady, was going by walk at 12.30am night to a shrine. “Whether it was wrong that the police inquired them (first lady’s daughter and son)? Whether police do not require inquiring in such unusual circumstances? Whether DPO was present at the place of occurrence at that time? What difference does it make if police inquired the woman for her protection?” asked chief justice.
The bench also summoned Gondal for his comments. Gondal said that he received a phone call from CM's secretary on August 24 asking to show up in the office of CM. “I was also asked to come along with RPO,” he added.
“I phoned RPO and told him there could have been two reasons either the incident of August 5 or the incident of August 24,” he said.
He added that IGP was also informed before the visit but his operator told that IG was busy, subsequently he sent a text message to IGP.
“During the meeting the CM introduced another person terming him his brother, however, after a few minutes we came to know that his name was Ahsan Jameel Gujjar and that he is a private person and not associated with any government department,” said Gondal.
“During the meeting Gujjar told us that conspiracy against Manika family was being hatched in Pakpattan. To this I responded that nothing such is in my knowledge. Gujjar told me that he conveyed a message to me through an overseas friend,” Gondal added.
The CJ inquired about the overseas friend. Gondal responded: "He was senior to him in course and his name is Azeem Arshad. Azeem phoned me on Whatsapp which could not be received and later he sent message to persuade me for apology but I replied in refusal." When chief justice asked whether any Army's Colonel was involved, Gondal said that the Colonel name was Tariq Faisal and he was in ISI currently posted in Faisalabad. Gondal added that Colonel Tariq also phoned him asking for visiting the Manika’s place.
Chief Justice inquired: "What Ahsan Gujjar has to do in the matter." Gondal said that his wife namely Farah was friend of first lady, the same lady in whose home the Nikah of Bushra and Prime Minister Imran Khan took place.
"Gujjar told me to show generosity and visit their home. Their father and forefather were popular and they have been landlords since long. DCs and DPOs are used to visit them since the time of British rule," Gondal narrated before the bench of what happened during the meeting at CM office.
He further informed the bench that police were abused in both incidents adding that Manika even gave kidnapping threats to the personnel of elite force on phone.
Gondal said that CM's secretary again phoned the department and conveyed the message of CM Buzdar for IGP Imam that Gondal should not be present in his office in the morning.
Justice Ahsan observed that ultimately it was the orders of CM Punjab. Gondal further revealed that next day after transfer order the CM’s secretary phoned him again and told the CM wanted to confirm whether the former left the charge.
On this, the chief justice aguishly directed his staff to take out the reference of Article 62(1)(f).
During the hearing, RPO Sahiwal Shariq Kamal took the rostrum. He said that Special Branch informed the police that to-be-first lady would go to Shrine in the mid night of 5-6 August and that the security was necessary for it. Later, we came to know that she was not the first lady but her daughter, he added.
Regarding the second incident, the RPO informed the bench that Khawar Manika was asked to stop at the checkpost but he did not stop. His car was chased, the RPO said, adding Manika used foul language against police.
After the break, Additional Advocate General Qasim Chohan informed the court that ISI's Colonel Tariq Faisal was busy in a meeting at Lahore while police visited Ahsan Gujjar residence but he was not present and his phone was off.
He further informed Khawar Manika refused to come and said he had to pick up her daughter from school while his son Ibrahim Manika was in Niltar Gilgit. The top court while summoning the concerned persons and officials involved in the matter adjourned the hearing till Monday.