ISLAMABAD      -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday (today) will resume hearing in a matter related to law and order situation in the federal capital and in this regard, the court had also directed Shahzad Akbar Prime Minister’s Advisor on Interior to appear before the court. 

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah will conduct hearing of this case while he had issued these directions during the hearing of petition filed against the alleged ‘abduction’ of Sajid Gondal, Additional Joint Director of SECP. 

The IHC bench had also directed the Inspector General (IG) of Police and the Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory or the Deputy Commissioner to appear before the court on the next hearing. It also directed the office to send notices to the Vice Chairman, Islamabad Bar Council and President, Islamabad High Court Bar Association for assistance. 

The court had stated in its order that Shahzad Akbar is a member of this Bar and his functions obviously, inter-alia, includes advising the Prime Minister on the abysmal state of governance and criminal justice system within 1,400 square miles of Islamabad Capital Territory. 

It observed that the AAG is expected to brief the Advisor regarding the questions raised in the connected petitions. 

It added, “Shahzad Akbar, Advisor to Prime Minister on matters relating to Ministry of Interior is directed to appear at 1:00 p.m. on 21.09.2020 and explain whether any advice has been tendered to the worthy Prime Minister regarding the deplorable law and order situation in the Capital of Pakistan and security of ordinary citizens.” 

The AAG informed the bench that detailed briefing was given to the Prime Minister and members of the Federal Cabinet in the meeting held on 08.09.2020. 

The Federal Cabinet decided in the said meeting to probe the alleged abductions from the area of Islamabad Capital Territory. He also told that pursuant to the said decision a committee has been duly notified. 

Justice Athar noted, “The abysmal law and order situation in the Capital of Pakistan is intolerable. As noted by this Court in its order, dated 07.09.2020, that fundamental rights of the ordinary citizens are being violated and their confidence in the criminal justice system is being eroded. Land related crimes, such as land grabbing, have become an unchecked widespread phenomenon and shockingly, Ministries/ departments and State entities are allegedly involved. They are engaged in the illegal real estate business. This raises a serious question of conflict of interest.” 

“The powerful elites are responsible for erosion of rule of law. Those public functionaries who have been entrusted with the onerous task of protecting the fundamental rights of citizens, in breach of their fiduciary duty that they owe to the people, are themselves allegedly, directly or indirectly, involved in perpetration of crime and erosion of rule of law. This obviously has a profound effect and appears to be a major factor in erosion of rule of law and failure of the State to protect its citizens,” said the IHC Chief Justice. 

He added that this impunity against crime and violation of fundamental rights is intolerable in a State governed under the Constitution. He mentioned that it was noted in the order, dated 07.09.2020, that the abysmal state of governance within 1,400 square miles of Islamabad Capital Territory has not happened overnight but it is an outcome of the past many decades of mis-governance by elected as well as unelected governments. 

He maintained, “On the basis of the reports submitted in the connected petitions and otherwise consistently observed, this Court has no hesitation in stating that the State machinery has failed to protect the ordinary citizens while the public functionaries appear to be helpless before the elite and the privileged. It is the duty of the State to restore the confidence of the ordinary citizens by restoring rule of law and treating every citizen equally.” 

Justice Athar pointed out that the report submitted by the Inspector General of Police in the connected petitions is an unambiguous acknowledgement of lack of ability of the State to apprehend, investigate and prosecute alleged criminals. 

According to the IHC order, the deterrence against crime in the society is not because of the form or severity of the sentence but it is ensured due to effectiveness of policing, investigations and prosecution. Rule of law is the only deterrence against crime. 

The trial courts are dependent solely on the quality of investigations and prosecution. 

It further said that regrettably the reports placed on record speak volumes for a system that has been corrupted and is at the brink of collapse. The Police Order, 2002 has been enforced but appears to be resisted by some quarters. The Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory has been repeatedly directed to establish the prosecution branch but to no avail. 

It continued that the ordinary citizens i.e. the actual stakeholders are suffering and their constitutional rights are being flagrantly violated. This constitutional Court cannot turn a blind eye to the failure of the public functionaries to protect the citizens.