Had CM taken some action, court would not have intervened: judge

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The Sindh High Court directed the Sindh chief secretary on Thursday to apprise it of what action was taken by the chief minister against the police officers responsible for unlawfully laying siege around the Sindh High Court on the occasion of Dr Zulifqar Mirza’s presence in court and beating up unknown persons and smashing parked vehicles on premises of the court.

A division bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah deferred till Monday the indictment of IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali, Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo and other senior police officers over contempt charges.

On May 23, masked armed policemen had cordoned off the SHC beating up guards of Dr Mirza’s outside the main gate of the SHC building. They smashed parked vehicles and snatched cameras from journalists.

At the outset of hearing, the advocate general of Sindh submitted to the bench affidavits filed by the IGP, Karachi police chief and other senior police officer which the court took on record.

AG Abdul Fatah Malik told the judges that he had viewed the footage showing masked men and policemen thrashing persons outside the court. It was quite surprising the way the operation was undertaken, he added.

He quoted the incharge of the operation as saying that he had got information about presence of heavily armed persons including two hardened criminals hailing from FATA. Had they tried to nail them at another place, they would have burst out firing at police force. To this, Justice Sajjad asked the AG why they not bothered to inform SHC’s Registrar before taking action. The AG regretted that it was duty of the officials to bring this into the knowledge of SHC’s officials.

The AG said the police officers offer unconditional apology and throw themselves at the mercy of the court.

Justice Sajjad remarked that the CM had taken cognizance of the incident to the extent of a statement only. Had he punished those responsible for the episode, the court had not to intervene and order sacking of police officers, he added.

While putting of the hearing till Monday, the court directed the chief secretary to inform it about what action was taken by the CM against those responsible for the unlawful action. The judges cleared that they would decide at the next date of hearing whether or not to frame charge against the IG and other police officers.