Court dismisses challenge in Nawaz Sharif case

Order not to summon respondents did not suffer from any illegality as the trial court had examined all the witnesses, Pakistan court says

Lahore: A Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench on Wednesday dismissed a petition against the non-summoning of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and 10 others by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Model Town killings case, by a two to one majority vote.

The bench headed by Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan and comprising Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem announced the verdict which was reserved on a criminal revision petition filed by Jawad Hamid, an official of the Minhaj-ul-Quran International.

While Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Ahmed Naeem ruled against summoning the said 12 respondents in the case, Justice Qasim wrote a dissenting note.

In a detailed verdict, Justice Neelum and Justice Naeem held that the order not to summon the respondents did not suffer from any illegality as the trial court had examined all the witnesses which the petitioner/complainant desired to produce and intended to rely.

The judges further held that allegations levelled in the complaint and stated by the witnesses were found to be afterthought and did not disclose essential ingredients for constituting the offences punishable under section 409, 120 B, 506 of PPC.

“When no allegation is made against the respondents then proceeding against them on the basis of such complaint would be abuse of process of court,” they held and dismissed the petition.

However, Justice Qasim Khan set aside the order of non-summoning of respondents, terming it against the law.

He observed that material available on file had not been appreciated properly.

“The case is remanded to the trial court with the direction that it is duty of the court, during proceedings under section 202 of the Code, to determine the falsehood or truthfulness of allegations levelled in the complaint,” he added.

Justice Qasim Khan ruled that the trial court might hold further inquiry into the matter or get it investigated through any person/agency or a team of experts.

Meanwhile, the bench also dismissed a petition filed by former inspector general of police (IGP) Mushtaq Sukhera against ATC’s order of summoning him in the complaint moved by the PAT.

The bench had reserved its verdict on the petitions challenging the trial court’s decision on June 27 after Punjab Prosecutor General Ehtesham Qadir and lawyers of appellants had concluded their arguments.

An anti-terrorism court dismissed the complaint of Jawad Hamid/PAT to the extent of summoning 12 people- including former premier Nawaz Sharif, former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, now Punjab Assembly opposition leader Hamza Shahbaz, former law minister Rana Sanaullah, former railway minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq, former defence minister Khwaja Asif, former information minister Pervez Rashid, former state minister Abid Sher Ali, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, then personal secretary to chief minister Syed Tauqir Shah, former home secretary Azam Suleman and then Lahore Commissioner Rashid Mahmood Langrial – nominated as accused by the party in its private complaint.

However, the trial court agreed to summon 125 officials of police including former IGP Mushtaq Sukhera and district government for their trial.

Consequently, the PAT filed the appeal challenging ATC decision for not summoning the said 12 people whereas former IGP Mushtaq Sukhera challenged summons by the trial court before the high court.

In April, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo motu notice of the unnecessary delay in the proceedings of the trial court and the high court relating the Model Town incident cases. The CJP had ordered the trial court and high court for early disposal of the cases.

At least 14 persons were killed and over 100 injured during the anti-encroachment operation outside the Model Town residence of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on June 17, 2014.

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