The Judiciary 2016

Deadly blasphemy clauses added by a judge to an Ahmadi’s charge sheet

Lahore:           Mr. Tahir Mahdi Imtiaz, printer of the Ahmadiyya monthly Ansarullah, was arrested by the police on March 30, 2015 in a Lahore court premises where he had gone to seek confirmation of bail in another case. He is ‘printer’ of various other Ahmadiyya publications as well.

Mr. Imtiaz was wrongfully implicated in this fabricated case registered with Millat Town police under the blasphemy clause PPC 295-A and the anti-Ahmadiyya PPC 298-C on behest of mullas, more than a year ago.

He has not been told, nor does the charge sheet mention the text which calls for the application of the criminal law.

A sessions court refused to grant him bail. Later, on August 6, 2015, Lahore High Court refused him bail and ordered that anti-terrorism clause 8-W ATA be added to the case and the trial be held in an anti-terrorism court. This was greatly unjust.

Mr. Imtiaz applied to the Supreme Court for bail where a two-member bench refused to grant him this well-deserved relief.

Mr. Imtiaz’s attorney applied to the court under clause 265-K that the case be dismissed for being baseless and without any merit. The opposition party, on the other hand, requested that clauses PPC 295-B and 295-C i.e. Blasphemy laws be added to the charge sheet. These carry penalties of life imprisonment and death respectively. The ATC judge rejected Mr. Imtiaz’s plea, and accepted the opposition’s plea to add PPCs 295-B and 295-C.

 

Killer of an Ahmadi released on bail

Lahore; May 26, 2016:           It would be recalled that in March 2012 the police tortured an innocent Ahmadi teacher and local community leader Mr. Abdul Qadoos to death.

Shujaat Malhi, who was in charge of investigation while Mr. Abdul Qadoos was in his custody, was held responsible for his death. Recently, the Lahore High Court ordered his release on bail.

Some salient features of this case are very briefly mentioned below:

  • The daily Nawa-e-Waqt reported the news on April 1, 2012 as, “Chenab Nagar: School teacher dies of police torture. Citizens’ strong protest.”
  • The official Medical Board reported: “The death… is suggestive of due to anti-mortem trauma… leading to renal failure and its allied complications.”
  • The investigating magistrate mentioned in his report: “Furthermore, accused Shujaat Malhi SI as incharge investigation, and Amir Nazir 493/C are found fully involved in a brutal murder of Abdul Qadoos deceased.” He called the accused handling “deceased was subjected to inhumane torture.”
  • Mobashir Ahmad, an eye witness told the magistrate that on March 26, he found that Mr Qadoos could barely walk and his entire clothes were stained with blood and blood was coming forth in his vomits and stool.
  • The murder accused Shujaat Malhi is under trial. On May 26, 2016 Lahore High Court ordered his release on bail.

The case of Mr Tahir Mahdi Imtiaz belonging to the same community as that of the above mentioned murder victim is worth a mention here. He is printer of Ahmadiyya publications, including the monthly Ansarullah. He was arrested on March 30, 2015 for implication in a case fabricated by mullas over the monthly, allegedly recovered in this case from the main accused. There is however nothing in the said issue that is even remotely blasphemous. Mr. Imtiaz applied to the Lahore High Court for release on bail. A 2-member bench of the court refused him bail, and ordered that clause 8-W ATA be added to his charge sheet and the case be tried in an Anti-terrorism court. The judge of this trial court has approved the complainant’s demand that the more serious blasphemy clauses PPC 295-B and 295-C be added to the charge sheet. The penalty for the latter PPC is death. The accused does not know what exactly is blasphemous in what he published. No bail for him from the same high court, while his trial goes on.

 

Three get bail in case of attacking Ahmadis’ worship place

Islamabad:      The daily The Nation published the following story with the above-given headline, on March 9, 2016:

 

March 09, 2016

ISLAMABAD:   The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to three persons allegedly involved in attacking and burning Ahmadis’ place of worship – Bait-uz-Zikar.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who headed a three-judge bench, hearing the appeals of accused namely Adnan Mushtaq, Imran Nazir and Muhammad Mansha, said that attack on a worship place should be considered a crime against the state.

According to police, an enraged mob of 400 to 500 persons in November 2015 had torched the worship place of Ahmadis in Kala Gujran, Jhelum district after the report that a few members of Ahmadiyya community in their chipboard factory had desecrated the Holy Quran. The police arrested around 20 persons for attacking and burning worship place and registered a case against them.

Justice Dost Muhammad another member of the bench, remarked the government’s writ is not seen anywhere, adding the lawyers though talk about supremacy of law, yet incident showed how much respect the lawyers have for the Supreme Court judgments. The lawyers of Islamabad High Court on February 29 had condemned the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri in Adiala Jail. The IHC and the Supreme Court had maintained the death sentence of Qadri. The apex court had ruled that criticizing the blasphemy law is not blasphemy. The accused counsel Ansar Nawaz Mirza argued before the bench that the police had wrongly registered a case against his clients as they live in the same street where Qadiani’s worship place exists, adding on that day they were going to pick up their children from schools but the police arrested them.

Ansar said his clients’ names are not in the FIR but the police later included them in the case through ‘zimni’ (supplementary statement). He said the co-accused Hamza who had been named in the FIR was allowed bail and Qari Khalil Ahmed also named in the FIR was declared innocent during investigation. He said there is no cogent evidence available against his clients.

Anti-Terrorism Court and a division bench of Lahore High Court had dismissed the accused post-arrest bail. They have filed the appeal against the LHC order in the apex court. Justice Gulzar after hearing the arguments granted them bail.

One is reminded of the renowned Judge Scalia of the US Supreme Court, dead last month, who described some fellow judges as ‘Mullahs of the West.”

 

A lot of legislation in our country has been done to fulfill vested interests: Chief Justice Jamali

The country has failed to achieve the dreams of its founding fathers largely because of “insincere and dishonest” politicians

Sukkur: May 28, 2016:

“Pakistan’s top judge has said the country has failed to achieve the dreams of its founders largely because of ‘insincere and dishonest’ politicians.

“Our (successive) generations have failed miserably in materializing the dreams of our ancestors, said Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali while addressing the legal fraternity of Larkana on Saturday.

“Muslims and Pakistanis are taken as the most incapable people and the forces behind this perception are known to everyone, he said, adding that even the countries created after 1947 had surpassed Pakistan in development, “We, as a nation, have failed to create unity and solidarity among our ranks, Jamali said, (But) other nations have been quite fortunate to have sincere and honest leaders, which we lack.

“The top Judge also blamed prolonged bouts of dictatorships for the dismal state of affairs in the country. “A lot of legislation in our country has been done to fulfill vested interests,” he said, lamenting the court decisions announced for the welfare of the people were seldom implemented.

“Giving an example, Jamali said if the court takes action against any incapable person, a certain lobby always comes to this rescue. This is very painful, he added, “We should not wait for angels to come down and solve our problems. Somebody amongst us has to volunteer.”…

The Express Tribune, May 29, 2016

The daily Mashriq added on May 29 the following remarks of the CJP to the above report:

  • Not even a single institution has succeeded in meeting its responsibilities.
  • Provision of justice is a fundamental responsibility.
  • We have shortcomings; until these are suppressed, our problems will continue.
  • We missed leadership that leads peoples to heights.

All the above observations make great sense when examined in the context of anti-Ahmadi laws and their implementation.

It is relevant to mention that only six months ago a 2-member bench of the Supreme Court withheld grant of bail to the Ahmadi printer of the monthly Ansarullah. He was arrested in a spurious and fabricated case in Lahore in March 2015. This Ahmadi pressman is behind bars for almost two years without having been found guilty. People like Maulana Abdul Aziz, Hafiz Saeed, Mulla Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi and Ms. Aayyan Ali, however roam about free.

 

Supreme Court seeks response on restoring Jamia Hafsa (in Islamabad): Press Report

Islamabad; May 5, 2016: The daily Dawn published a report today about Supreme Court’s proceedings on response to its order of October 2, 2007 issued over the bloody events of the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in 2007. It deserves a place in our HR archives. (Extracts):

SC orders govt. to implement 2007 Lal Masjid Judgment

ISLAMABAD: Nine years have slipped away, but the bloody events of the 2007 Lal Masjid standoff have refused to recede. Describing the perceived lack of implementation on the part of the government as an “enigma”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to explain what steps it has taken to comply with its Oct 2, 2007 judgment.

“Now, the procrastination needs to end,” said Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, while heading a two judge Supreme Court bench. …

The Lal Masjid conflict began when students from Jamia Hafsa occupied the adjacent Children’s Library on Jan 22, 2007, in response to the razing of seven ‘unauthorized’ mosques by the city’s administration.

The confrontation escalated in the following month, erupting into armed clashes resulting in the death of a Rangers official on July 3, 2007 by gunfire from the mosque. The army was called in the same night, and special forces stormed the mosque after the suspension of water and electricity supply failed to subdue the alleged militants within the mosque.

On Wednesday, the court asked the government to submit an implementation report, after Advocate Tariq Asad – representing the petitioners – argued that the government failed to reply to any of the court’s directions in its earlier judgment, adding that the government’s response that it failed to gather any evidence to prove claims of the desecration of the Holy Quran was incorrect. These petitions were filed in 2007 as well as in 2010 by a number of aggrieved individuals.

Authored by retired Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi, the judgment had required the Islamabad police to verify the antecedents of innocent individuals killed in the Lal Masjid incident, and to record statements of their legal heirs to determine their entitlement for compensation in the form of diyat, or blood money.

The order also required the Islamabad sessions judge to make compensation payments to the legal heirs of those victims who were determined to have been innocent.

The judgment stated that the process for the payment of compensation should have been completed within two months.

The judgment also ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to consider the construction of a hostel with a girls’ seminary, in addition to a research centre. It stated that the total area in the use of Jamia Hafsa, subject to all just exceptions, be treated as part of the institutions and research centre for religious education. It said efforts should be made to complete this construction within a year.

The 2007 order had also asked the government to accommodate the students of Jamia Hafsa who were displaced by the incident, thereby discontinuing their studies. In the event that the government did not provide such a site, the order said the students should be accommodated in a separate wing of the Jamia Fareedia building so their classes could begin no later than Oct 30, 2007.

The order also said Umme Hassan would act as principal, while the government would bear girl students’ education expenses – which included books, meals, board and lodging – in addition to teachers’ salaries. …

 

A sample from routine reports issued on on-going anti-Ahmadi cases in courts

Rabwah:  Internal reports are circulated periodically within Ahmadi headquarters on the latest status of cases active in courts against Ahmadi accused. Translation of a sample is produced here to show how these cases are attended to in courts while innocent accused or convicted Ahmadis suffer in extreme weather in prisons, awaiting justice or a review of their pleas. Brief ‘Background’ on each case is provided to introduce the case to the reader. The Reported ‘Update’ as on July 21 is produced here. Comments are added to spotlight the plight of the accused.

 

Case I

Background

A fabricated case was registered against Mr. Tahir Mahdi Imtiaz, printer of the Ahmadiyya monthly Ansarullah, in Millat Town Police Station Lahore on April 16, 2014. He was arrested by the police on March 30, 2015 under the blasphemy clause PPC 295-A and anti-Ahmadiyya law PPC 298-C. A high court judge announced acceptance of his bail, but subsequently shirked from signing his decision. Thereafter a 2-member bench of LHC refused the bail, and ordered that clause 8-W ATA be added to his charge sheet and the case be tried in an Anti-terrorism Court. He remains in prison. Supreme Court did not grant him the bail either. He is being prosecuted in an Anti-terrorism court whose judge has approved that more serious clauses of the Blasphemy law, PPC 295-C and 295-B be added to his charge sheet. These respectively prescribe penalties of death and imprisonment for life.

Update Report

The next date of hearing of this case is scheduled on January 10, 2017.

Comment

This bread winner of his family, innocent of any crime, a learned man in the profession of journalism and printing is in prison for the last two years. The mullas trapped him in a false fabricated case. The police provided them support. The Punjab government’s policy dictates compliance with the wishes of religious bigots at the cost of marginalized sections of ‘other’ belief systems. The judiciary is no hurry to override and suppress corrupt practices. Result: the innocent suffer in prisons indefinitely.

 

Case II

Background

Officials of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) accompanied by a contingent of the Elite Force raided Shakoor Bhai’s shop where Ahmadiyya books were on sale, arrested him and Mr. Mazhar Abbas the shop assistant, a Shia, on December 2, 2015. A speedy trial in an Anti-terrorism Court dispensed 5 years’ imprisonment to each of the two accused, while Mr. Abdul Shakoor, an octogenarian, was sentenced in addition to three years’ imprisonment under the anti-Ahmadiyya law.

 

Update Report

An appeal lies with the Lahore High Court against the awarded punishment. No date of hearing has been scheduled since June 22, 2016.

Comment

This 80 years old man used to sell Ahmadiyya publications which have been accused by the mulla for the last hundred years to be anti-Jihad. Last year the Counter Terrorism Department of the government of Punjab arrested this octogenarian, on orders issued under the influence of Ulama. His shop-assistant, a Shia was the co-accused; this obviously proves that there was nothing in the shop even remotely blasphemous against Islam. The higher judiciary, apparently accords no priority to the plight and pleas of Ahmadi elderly who cry for justice at its door. According to press reports, the findings of the inquiry in attack on Amjad Sabri is; No clue, yet. Similarly, the CTD in the Punjab remains clueless about the mastermind and facilitators of Gulshan Iqbal Park blast, months after the incident. However, update on Mr. Abdul Shakoor, Ahmadi is: ‘Raided, arrested, tried, held guilty and now in prison for over a year to serve imprisonment of 8 years, only a few days after the decision was made to incriminate him – a soft target, indeed.

 

Case III

Background

A contrived case was registered against four Ahmadis, Khalil Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmad, Ihsan Ahmad and Mubashir Ahmad of Bhoiwal, District Sheikhupura under PPC 295-A, 337-2 and 427 on May 13, 2014 in Police Station Sharaqpur. Mr. Khalil Ahmad was then murdered by a madrassah student, while in police custody, on May 16, 2014. The remaining three accused Ahmadis were arrested on July 18, 2014. They are in prison. Their bails were cancelled.

Update Report

A hearing was scheduled on January 7, 2017, however no proceedings took place. Next given date of hearing is January 19, 2017.

Comment

The accused allegedly tore down an anti-Ahmadi objectionable poster. They have been in prison for over two and half years, and their trial proceeds at snail’s pace. What if three years after their arrest they are found ‘not guilty’ of violating the severe PPC 295-A! They would not even be considered for any compensation. One of them has already been killed while in police custody. Whither justice!

 

Case IV

Background

Mr. Qamar Ahmad was charged under PPC 295-B for alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Jhelum, and was arrested on November 20, 2015. Bigots attacked the Ahmadi-owned factory and Ahmadis’ houses after his arrest and set them on fire after looting the valuables. Those who attacked the Ahmadiyya mosque have been granted bail, but not Mr. Ahmad.

Update Report

The latest hearing date was January 7, 2017, however there were no proceedings. The next given date is January 23, 2017.

Comment

No Ahmadi would even contemplate defiling the Holy Quran. This is their scripture and the Holy Writ. Mr. Ahmad is innocent. He is behind bars for over a year as a victim of the controversial blasphemy laws. He was not granted bail. The judiciary is content with the time it takes to find an accused Not Guilty in a Blasphemy case.

 

Who will take action against misconduct of a (Lahore High Court) judge now retired? A press report

Lahore; May 17, 2016:           The daily Mashriq published the following report today as lead news on the front page (extracts):

Who will take action against misconduct of a (LHC) judge now retired?

The same case was put up simultaneously before two courts. It was also put up before Justice Khalid Mehmud who had retired the day before.

Lahore (Zeeshan Baig Shami). It is being passionately discussed in Pakistani legal circles as to under what article of the constitution action can be taken against a judge after his retirement if judge of a high court is guilty of some misconduct in performance of his duties….

This issue came forth when the same case was listed before two judges in the high court. It was placed in the court of Justice Khalid Mehmud who had retired the day before; while it was cancelled in the cause list of the other court.

Justice ® Khalid Mehmud Khan heard this case a day before his retirement (sic) and annulled the FIR of the accused involved in an (anti) corruption case. …

Senior judge of the high court took notice of two cause lists of the same case and ordered disciplinary action against the responsible officials. The high court dismissed these three officials and ordered registration of a case (against them). Anti-corruption officials arrested them.

During the investigation the accused officials admitted that they had indulged in such activities for years and had received a heavy amount in the current case as well. They disclosed that 9 others were also involved (in this malpractice).

The accused, Tariq, Imran etc. admitted the guilt that they demanded and received money for years to place cases before the requested (man pasand) judges, they were involved in fact in other illegal activities. Nine other accomplices are also involved who are now employed in different branches of the high court. …

DG Anti-corruption has written a letter to Lahore High Court to permit investigation against the other 9 clerks, in view of the statements of the accused. The Registrar has been further requested in this letter to provide full security to the investigating officer who is under great pressure and has been discreetly threatened by powerful lawyers visiting the accused.

The most important issue in this case, however, is what legal action can be taken against your favorite judge if he is now retired.