ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and counsel for the FC inspector general, Irfan Qadir, exchanged harsh words on Wednesday at the outset of hearing of the missing persons’ case Wednesday.
During proceedings, the acting inspector general of the FC, Brigadier Khalid Naseem, appeared before the apex court in casual dress. The court asked him about it and objected to his body language.
The Supreme Court detached the contempt notice against the IGFC from the missing persons’ case, stating proceedings would be launched against him at an appropriate time.
The court ordered the interior secretary to issue notification for the appointment of a new or acting IG FC within three days.
The chief justice ordered the government to clearly state when it could produce the missing persons. The bench also ordered action against the officials who were creating hurdles in the case.
Earlier, the hearing began in a dramatic way when counsel for the IG FC and former attorney general, Irfan Qadir, uttered harsh words in a charged atmosphere when Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing his last case as the chief justice of Pakistan.
Irfan Qadir said he couldn’t produce his client before the upcoming ‘political star’ while referring to certain news items published in the national press on Tuesday.
The CJP snubbed Qadir and asked him not to shout in the court. Justice Chaudhry said the court could also suspend his licence upon which Qadir said the court might suspend or even revoke his lisence.
Qadir said the court should take measures so that such stories are not published. The Justice Chaudhry said he should not compel the court to take strict action against him.
Iftikhar Chaudhry remarked the federal and Balochistan governments were not playing their role for recovery of the missing persons. The court ordered initiation of contempt of court case against IG FC separately besides directing IG FC to produce FC officers and personnel before CID authorities who are allegedly involved in enforced disappearances. The court also issued notices to the Balochistan chief secretary, the IG and the IG FC.
The court also ordered recovery of all the missing persons till December 19 and appointment of acting IGB FC within three days.
The court, while reprimanding Irfan Qadir asked him to remain silent otherwise his permanent licence could be revoked. “Don’t force me to do this job while I am on the way of retirement.” Irfan Qadir said, “I have been listening to you silently for 3 days, but cannot remain silent now.”
Justice Jawwad remarked: “Don’t respect us, but study 25 clauses of doing practice. We will bring each and every word of yours on record and give results too. The courts are far above such phrases. If it is the way of defending your client, then we will adopt our own way.”
The CJP advised Irfan Qadir to see the SC rules. “We have spent 24 years in discipline. We cannot tolerate your attitude.” Irfan Qadir said: “You have already made up your mind to take action against me.” The AG intervened in the matter, talked to Irfan Qadir and seated him on his seat.
Justice Jawwad said:”All have heard what he has said. He can say whatever he wants to say more. We are far above such type of phrases. These things are not more important than the dignity of the institution for us. We will not allow the institution to be defamed. He will be heard and given full opportunity.”
The CJP remarked: “We respect Irfan Qadir. He should be told to review his attitude and say sorry.” He added: “This is a matter of 50 persons’ lives. You don’t respect the court. Earlier, we were going to suspend your licence temporarily, but now we will do it permanently.”
The CJP remarked, “Bring the missing persons. If some commandant has been called, he should tell the court.” The AG said notification of an acting IG FC was not issued under Section 5.
The CJP questioned how a person admitted to hospital can command FC. “Our headache is why the court’s orders have not been implemented so far. He was asked to appear in the court on December 1, but he has not appeared so far. He is ill now and the responsibility can be handed over to someone else. Take action against those not complying with the orders of the court.”
The court said in its order: “We have reached the conclusion that the interior secretary should take the matter into his hands, talk to the authorities concerned and resolve the matter of appointment of IG FC under Section 5.”
The CJP said there was no IG FC. “The Balochistan government says no one listens to it. If the Balochistan government cannot establish its writ in the province, what help will the federal government extend to it?”
Justice Jawwad remarked: “If the Balochistan or federal governments have not to protect fundamental rights, then there is no reason left for us to sit here. It is incomprehensible what is happening in the country.” The AG said he would personally ask Shahid Aziz to appear in the court in person.
The CJP remarked: “We order the IG FC to produce the FC personnel found involved in picking up missing persons before the CID officer.” The hearing of the case was adjourned till December 19.