LAHORE -  Taking notice of torture of speech and hearing-impaired children by the conductor of a school, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah ordered the Punjab Police inspector general on Thursday to deploy two unarmed guards at every bus of the Special Education Department from November 17 (today).

The chief justice took up the petition of a lawyer, Syed Muqdad Naqvi, at his GOR Camp Office on Thursday evening. The lawyer argued that boys and girls were subjected to torture in the bus carrying students of Daska Special Education Centre and video of the incident went viral on social media. He pointed out that conductors Muzammil and Mazhar thrashed students. He pointed out that in the past such incidents had taken place in Lahore but no action was taken against the culprits.

After hearing preliminary arguments, the chief justice directed the police chief to deploy two unarmed guards at every bus of special children from November 17 and enforce the court order.

The chief justice also sought personal appearance of the district police officer, deputy commissioner and secretary for special education along with report. The court also directed the Punjab chief secretary to furnish a comprehensive report on the incident.

Also, counsel for victims of Model Town massacre requested the LHC court for ordering the release of the judicial inquiry report as the government cannot deny them right to know the truth and indentify who was responsible for the killing of 14 persons.

Barrister Ali Zafar told a full bench, headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, that If the report is kept secret from the people, it will not only amount to constitutional violation but also the entire purpose of appointing the inquiry tribunal will be dashed down.

Barrister Zafar stated that the report was prepared by a judicial tribunal constituted by the government itself under Pakistan Commissions of Enquiry Act and the report accordingly was a public document as defined in Section 85 of the Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order, 1984.

Relying on various judgements, he said the government being custodian of the report was required to provide certified true copies of any such documents. He argued that under Article 19-A of the Constitution it was the fundamental right of every citizen to have access to and receive information on all matters of public importance and this right was to be read with the right of “Freedom of Speech”.

Quoting from the judgments of the Supreme Court, he said freedom of information was basically a right of the people to know the truth and was based on the wisdom of Hazrat Isa (PBUH) who said “And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.”

He argued that it was unfortunate facet of Pakistan’s history that during the past 69 years since Pakistan’s independence that the people of the country have been disserved and information critical to them has been withheld from them and whereas time and again the governments have spent millions of rupees on enquiries, but the citizens although being direct affectees remained clueless and uninformed.

As the arguments were in process, the full bench adjourned further hearing till Nov 21.

Sajid zia11/16/2017