SC finds police officials guilty, upholds sentence

Manhandling of ex-CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld sentences of Islamabad’s district administration and police officers convicted for failing to prevent manhandling of former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2007.
The trial court had announced 15-day jail term for former Inspector General of Islamabad Police Iftikhar Ahmed, 30 days for SSP Capt ratd Zafar Iqbal, SSP Jameel Hashmi, DSP Rukhsar Mehdi and Constable Siraj Ahmed. Former Chief Commissioner Islamabad Khalid Pervez and Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Muhammad Ali were awarded confinement till rising of the court.
The officers had moved the Supreme Court against the trial court’s verdict and appealed for setting aside the sentence. However, a five-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday announced the judgment dismissing the appeals filed by police officers.
The court restored the punishments awarded to the former IG, Chief Commissioner Islamabad and other officers by the trial court.
It was in May, 2018 the SC deliberated on the criteria to accept an apology in contempt case as it reserved its judgment on intra-court appeals (ICAs), filed by police officers, who were found guilty of manhandling former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on March 13, 2007.
During the hearing Justie Asif Saeed Khosa – who was heading the five-judge bench – had noted that dragging the CJP by the hair was the highest contempt. Dr Khalid Ranjha, counsel for the then Islamabad IG police submitted that his client left himself at the mercy of the court. Upon this, Justice Khosa asked how the court will determine that his apology is unconditional.
“What is the criterion to determine the bona fide of contemnor? Whether an apology is enough to end the contempt proceedings against a person who abused courts and his video was shown all over the world, asked Justice Khosa.
“How will the SC will know this is a genuine remorse or just an apology to escape contempt proceedings. What’s yardstick to know that apology has been submitted with bona fide intent?” he had asked.
Following the sentence, SSP Motorways Jameel Hashmi criticized the verdict saying about himself that an innocent man is being punished. I am observing fast and I can say on oath that I was not present on the scene at the time of the incident and I am being sentenced over a fake news report.” The SSP Motorway added, today, after the verdict, I have come to know that law was blind. Hashmi served as SSP Security Islamabad till March this year and was DSP Islamabad during the ex-CJP’s manhandling incident in 2007.

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