IHC annoyed over non-filing of reply by ministry

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court on Thursday expressed its annoyance over Interior Ministry for not submitting its reply in a writ petition seeking court’s directions to make public the report of an inquiry commission in the matter of assassination attempt on anchor Hamid Mir.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition moved by a private television channel’s anchor Arshad Sharif, and directed the ministry to submit the inquiry commission report before the court before the next date of hearing.

Later, the IHC bench deferred the hearing in this matter till February 7th for further proceedings.

The petition was moved by Arshad Sharif who adopted before the court that the publication of this report is necessary as due to the recent leaks of Hamid Mir Commission Report, the interest and security of Pakistan is under challenge as different media houses both nationally and internationally can manipulate the findings and change the context to their own benefit.

Arshad filed the petition through his counsel M Shoaib Razzaq Advocate and nominated federation through president of Pakistan, secretary Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights and secretary Ministry of Information as respondents.

He stated in this matter that it was April 19, 2014 when an unfortunate assassination attempt was made on the life of a private TV channel’s anchor Hamid Mir by an unidentified group of people, while he was travelling from the airport towards his TV office in Karachi.

The petitioner added that he was shot numerous times and sustained severe injuries, while the assailants succeeded to escape from the scene.

However, Mir overcame the attack and successfully recovered after receiving medical treatment.

He maintained that in the aftermath of the firing, a malicious, libelous, slanderous and scandalous campaign was stirred up by several media houses through their channels and printing groups against the state organs, focusing primarily on the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its then director-general Lt Gen Muhammad Zaheerul Islam.

The petitioner continued that the same day, the ISPR released a statement condemning the attack and praying for a speedy recovery of Hamid Mir, but regretted the baseless, malicious, defamatory allegations levelled against the DG ISI and the institute itself.

He contended that the impugned broadcasting was picked up by foreign media most particularly India, who repeatedly played the footage without reporting objectively, to support their own personal agenda of causing hatred and distrust of Pakistan’s state organs, both nationally and internationally.

The petitioner was of the view that due to the gravity of the situation and the alarming accusations against the state organs, the Government of Pakistan on April 21, 2014 issued a notification with the concurrence of the then chief justice of Pakistan and appointed a commission of inquiry comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali as president, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman as members.

The petitioner said that the mandate of the said commission was to ascertain facts, identify culprits and fix responsibility for the incident of firing on Hamid Mir.  The commission was also tasked to give recommendations as how to avoid such incidents in the future.

He added that the said commission presented its final report to the federal government on December18, 2015 but the report had not been officially released for the general public.

The petitioner continued that it was pertinent to note that Hamid Mir Commission Report had been leaked and was being used by different media houses for their own personal agenda and mandate by using certain parts of the report, which facilitated their cause.

He mentioned that due to the recent leak of Hamid Mir Commission Report, the interest and security of Pakistan was under challenge as different media houses both nationally and internationally could manipulate the findings and change the context to their own benefit.

The petitioner said that the publication of judicial commission report was a matter of public importance, and it was in the interest of the public institutions and public at large that the judicial commission report related to Hamid Mir commission be published.  He argued that the commission report should be made public as it was public’s right to know the facts under the Right to Information law. He prayed before the court to direct the law ministry to publish the report, and the federation might be directed to implement the recommendations.

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