LAHORE - Appointment of permanent Inspector General of Police and establishment of Public Safety Commissions at provincial and district levels, detention of Hafiz Saeed and his appearance before a review board and alleged malpractice of Punjab Textbook Board remained the main issues at the courts during the last week.

The high court also took up case of sugar mills, said to be owned by close relatives of Sharif family, scandal of alleged illegal organ transplant and a matter regarding enforcement of Urdu language in the country.

In IGP’s appointment case, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah gave one month time to the Punjab government to appoint permanent IGP and establish Public Safety Commissions at provincial and district levels. The CJ sought compliance report from the government on the next hearing and appointed Advocates Asma Jahangir and Khawaja Haris as amicus curies (friends of court) for assistance on the case.

A citizen Abdur Razzaq moved public interest petition seeking enforcement of a number of provisions of Police Order 2002 and challenging the appointment of acting-IGP of Punjab.  Advocate Saad Rasool, the counsel for the petitioner, contended that appointments of IGPs and CCPOs should be made on the recommendations of the duly constituted National Public Safety Commission. However, he said, the commission had never been properly constituted since the promulgation of police order in 2002.

The lawyer said the Police Order also envisaged that IGPs, CCPOs or DPOs must not be transferred before the expiry of their three-year term and in case transfer was to be made before three years, the same would be done by the commission.  He pointed out that four IGPs had been transferred since 2013 with average tenure of nine months. Likewise, eight CCPOs had been transferred in Lahore alone during the last three years, he added.

During the hearing, a provincial law officer told the court that the police order 2002 had been amended recently eliminating the role of National Public Safety Commission in the appointment of IGP. He pointed out that the provincial government would now appoint the IGP from among a panel of three eligible police officers recommended by the federal government.

After hearing both sides, the chief justice directed the government to ensure appointment of a permanent IGP in the province within the period of not more than one month. The chief justice also directed that the appointment of the permanent IGP would be for a fixed tenure of three years as desired by the Police Order 2002. The court adjourned hearing for a month.

While hearing Hafiz Saeed and his aides’ detention matter, the Federal Review Board directed federal government to submit written reasons, if any, for keeping Jamatud Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed and his five aides as house arrest.

The board comprising Justice Ijaz Afzal of the Supreme Court, Justice Ayesha A. Malik of the Lahore High Court and Justice Jamal Khan Mandohail of Balochistan High Court took up the matter at Supreme Court Lahore registry.

The police produced Jamatud Dawa Chief Hafiz before the board under high security arrangements. The interior ministry submitted that JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed was detained for being risky to peace efforts and was detained over international pressure. A law officer said that he instigated people over Jihad and sent funds abroad. He also alleged that Hafiz Saeed was also involved in motivating people for terrorism. His movement and speeches also damaged the Kashmir cause, said the law officer.

The board also gave chance to Hafiz Saeed to defend himself in the case who said that he was being punished only for criticising the government over its policies about Indian-held Kashmir. He said he asked the government to adopt clear-cut stance over Indian-held Kashmir. He said he ran movements for Kashmir-cause. But Jihad for the freedom of Indian-held Kashmir is being termed as terrorism, he said.  He said father of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also declared Kashmir as ‘Jugular Vein’ of Pakistan.

He also said they were running movements for Burhan Wani, a freedom fighter, who was martyred for freedom of Indian-held Kashmir. He told the board that they would continue their efforts for the freedom of Indian-Held Kashmir. His organizations took part in welfare efforts while financial matters of his organizations were open and clear as their proper audit is conducted, he said.

On May 11, the LHC expressed displeasure over extension of Hafiz Saeed and five of his aides’ house arrest for another 90 days. Hafiz Saeed and his aides had challenged their detention and subsequent extension for another 90 days detention on April 30.

In petition against alleged malpractices of Punjab Textbook Board awarding contract to its own agencies and excluding the publishers from the development and publication of textbooks of class V, VI and VII, the LHC sought more arguments. Ali Brothers Publishers filed the petition arguing that by awarding contract to its own agencies owned by government the Punjab curriculum textbook board had barred the private publishers from the development of textbooks of class V, VI and VII.

He submitted that in the future textbooks of class V, VI, VII would be available at high prices which would make education out of reach from the common man.

He claimed that at present the private publishers were developing the manuscripts and thus the books were available at cheaper prices. He asserted that now by excluding the private publishers there is a likelihood that books would be available at high prices.

He stated that according to national curriculum textbooks and learning materials policy action and plan 2007 it was decided by the federal government that every possible step would be taken to make textbooks available at cheaper prices.

While in sugar mills case, the LHC directed the parties to come up with their written suggestions regarding terms of references for constitution of local commission to determine the crop of sugarcane across the province.  The Sharif sugar mills have filed appeals challenging court’s order in which they were ordered to be sealed. The Sharif sugar mills told the court that Jahangir Khan Tareen’s guar mill JWD was also made in violation of law and was doing crushing more than the permitted capacity. The hearing is due on May 17.

Besides this, the LHC observed that there were many technical issues involved in the way of the apex court’s judgment for enforcing Urdu as an official language in the country. Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah while hearing a petition seeking implementation of a Supreme Court’s judgment for enforcement of Urdu as an official language observed that a comprehensive analysis of ground realities was critical before enforcing the apex court’s judgment.

The chief justice said it had to be examined whether there was a room for immediately adopting Urdu as official language as government schools and colleges were still imparting education in English. 

The chief justice also rejected a request of the petitioner’s counsel AK Dogar for suspending a government notification that made English language mandatory at the government run schools. Earlier, the court was brief by the government side that steps were being taken for the enforcement of Urdu as official language in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment.  The petition was adjourned till May 25 for further arguments.

At the lower courts, a judicial magistrate extended physical remand of eight suspects including two doctors involved in illegal organ-transplant scandal. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) produced Dr Fawad Mumtaz, Dr Altamash Kharal, Umar Draz, Muhammad Shahzad, Abdul Majeed, Saqib, Umar and Fazal.   The magistrate extended the remand for next four days and directed the FIA to complete investigation of the case.