ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday granted another seven days to the chief city police officer Lahore to thoroughly investigate the Joseph Colony ablaze.

The court also directed the Establishment Division secretary to appoint the Punjab inspector general of police with the consultation of the chief secretary of the province. The advocate general told the court that the post of IGP had been lying vacant since January 1, 2013. He said that despite the repeated requests, the federal government had not so far appointed the IGP in the province.

The court noted that similar situation existed in Sindh where the IGP post had been lying vacant since March 6, 2013. Ultimately, this court had to order the Establishment Division secretary to appoint the IGP for maintaining the law and order in the province.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and consisting of Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, was hearing the Joseph Colony blaze case.

CCPO Muhammad Amlesh Khan, in pursuance of the court order, submitted a report. “The policemen, who were present at Joseph Colony when the incident took place, have either been suspended or transferred,” he told the bench. He, however, said they were trying to arrest the instigators.

The police officer admitted in the report that the instigators in both the groups – Aman and Ittehad – were responsible for the incident. The report also mentioned that when the mob of 6,000 people attacked the colony, SP City Multan Khan, DSP and SHO of Badami Bagh ran away from the scene and took refuge on the third floor of the godown. The officers came back to Joseph Colony when much damage had been caused.

The chief justice said the report showed that the policemen were wishy-washy and the incident was pre-planned. The CJP asked the CCPO to deeply probe the matter as he had got the lead. The court noted that prima facie the police failed to protect properties of the residents of Joseph Colony. The chief justice remarked that the CCPO had noted this conduct of police officers in the conclusion of his report. The SHO and the DSP closed the door of the godown. The CJP said: “The police did not dig out the real cause.”

The CCPO stated that he had recorded the statements of Shahid Imran, complainant, Muhammad Shafiq, Muhammad Iftikhar, Amjad Masih and Saleem Masih and found Sawan Masih guilty of uttering derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the light of the witnesses’ statements. The chief justice asked him why they had kept the accused and the complainant in the same jail. Advocate General Asther Ausaf revealed 48 persons had been arrested and 67 persons had yet to be arrested.

The CJP directed the SC registrar to send the copy of the order to the Establishment Division and the Punjab chief secretary so that they could ensure appointment of the IGP Punjab, and adjourned the hearing till April 1.