Lawyers file application against govt, president: Another showdown near Judges Colony -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Lawyers file application against govt, president: Another showdown near Judges Colony

SLAMABAD, March 3: An application has been submitted to the Secretariat police seeking registration of a criminal case against President Pervez Musharraf, a minister and other government officials for keeping the judges and their family members in detention at their residences.

Advocate and legal consultant Athar Minallah, accompanied by around 50 lawyers, reached the Secretariat police station at around 6:15pm to submit the application on behalf of the complainants – the presidents of High Court Bar Association (HCBA) Rawalpindi and district bar associations of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The application was submitted to the duty officer, assistant sub-inspector Sultan, who in return presented its attested copy to Mr Minallah.

The three-page application was enclosed with the seven-page open letter of the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to the European Parliament president, French president, British prime minister, US secretary of state and the World Economic Forum, and an article titled “House arrest: Judge’s daughter tells of family’s plight” and some snaps of the besieged house.

Mr Minallah said according to the law, the police were bound to register a case after receiving an application.

The applicants advised the police to register an FIR under section PPC 102 (Commencement and continuance of the right of private defence of the body), PPC 107 (Abetment of a thing), PPC 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), PPC 344 (Wrongful confinement for ten or more days), PPC 441 (Criminal trespass), PPC 442 (House trespass), PPC 503 (Criminal Intimidation), PPC 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and PPC 338 and other similar provisions, failing which further legal proceedings shall be initiated.

However, some experts differed on the view, saying the president under Article 48 of the constitution enjoyed complete impunity and therefore could not be called to be questioned in any court, tribunal or authority.

The bar presidents in their application demanded “registration of criminal case against Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf, minister of interior, secretary interior, capital’s chief commissioner, inspector general of police, senior superintendent of police, deputy commissioner and others for keeping the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, other honourable judges and their families under/in wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, committing criminal trespass, criminal intimidation, etc. punishable under the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 read with other enabling provisions.”

The application said the deposed chief justice and many other judges, who refused to take oath under the PCO, were taken into custody. The act and omissions are also contempt of the Supreme Court and its order, they claimed.

The judges along with their family members were wrongfully confined and restricted to their official residences; the outer doors were padlocked and chained. Barbed wire was put all around the residences and the roads leading to the Judges Colony were also barricaded.

They also stated in the application that the 18-year-old daughter of the deposed CJ – Ifra – was not allowed to leave the residence for taking her A level examinations; eight-year-old physically challenged son Balaj, who has been termed “the youngest political prisoner” by local as well as international media has not even been allowed to come out to the garden of the residence let alone allowing him to attend the school; 16-year- old Palwasha, a student of A level has also not been allowed to leave the residence and attend her school.
Source: Dawn
Date:3/4/2008