Sindh High Court orders protection of prosecution witnesses
By: Jamal Khurshid
Karachi: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to provide protection to prosecution witnesses in the Baldia factory fire case. The direction came during a hearing of identical petitions seeking a judicial inquiry into the fire that claimed the lives of more than 250 labourers at Ali Enterprises on September 11.
The petitioners, including the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, have requested the constitution of a judicial commission to fix responsibility and suggest monetary compensation for the legal heirs of the victims of the biggest industrial disaster in the country’s history.
They also sought a court order restraining the inquiry commission constituted by the provincial government and the factory owners from disposing of the factory or creating any third party interest till the final adjudication of the petitions.
The petitioners also filed a miscellaneous application seeking security for the prosecution witnesses in the case. They submitted that prosecution witnesses who said in their testimonies that the factory gates were locked on the instructions of the factory owners were being threatened and harassed by the owners for giving contradictory statements to the trial court.
They prayed to the court to direct the police to provide complete protection to all prosecution witnesses and ensure the preservation of all the evidence collected against the factory owners.
A division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, issued notices to the IGP and the home secretary, and directed them to provide complete protection to the prosecution witnesses and also take measures to effectively preserve the evidence collected in the case.
The court adjourned the hearing till December 19, and directed the provincial law officer to submit a report of the inquiry tribunal.
The SHC issued notices to the federal and provincial governments on a petition of a woman against the alleged unlawful detention of six men by the Rangers.
Jannat Bibi alleged that Rangers personnel picked up her two sons, Saudullah Jan and Hastam Khan, and her four grandsons, Safirullah, Naseebullah, Asmatullah and Shakirullah, from their residence in at Lalabad in Bin Qasim Towm on October 28, and that their whereabouts were unknown.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers and law enforcement agencies, and directed them to file comments regarding the alleged detention of the detainees.
CHK Jail Ward
The SHC directed the provincial government’s law officer to submit a report on the construction of a jail ward at the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK).
The court was hearing a petition regarding the extension of the jail ward at the CHK. The court was informed by the provincial law officer and the additional medical superintendent of the hospital that the Dow University of Health Sciences took up the project itself due to a delay in the allocation of funds and work would commence in seven days and completed in eight weeks.
Disposing of the petition, the SHC directed the member inspection team to regularly visit the project site and submit a progress report.