ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday has ordered the Interior Secretary Shahid Khan to constitute an independent inquiry committee excluding the Islamabad police officials for the investigation of the Islamabad district court terrorist attack. The court also directed the Islamabad High Court inquiry committee headed by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui to continue its probe into a gun and suicide bomb attack on a court complex in Islamabad; meanwhile the court directed the Secretary Interior to beef up security of the courts throughout the country.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, was hearing the suo motu case. The chief Justice had taken suo motu notice of Monday’s attack, the deadliest to hit the heavily-guarded capital in more than five years.
An inquiry committee formed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) last week and headed by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, had halted its work after the Supreme Court took sou moto notice of the incident. The Supreme Court directed the committee to continue its probe and submit its report to the apex court.
The court has directed Secretary Interior to form an independent joint investigation team without the presence of Islamabad police; meanwhile the court has observed that public representatives should not give statements regarding inquiry of the case, adding that political statements can affect the investigation.
During the course of hearing the SC expressed its disappointment over a reports submitted by the Inspector-General, and Chief Commissioner Islamabad and directed IGP to file detailed report within two days.
The SC objected that the IG’s report did not give any clue regarding the court’s security plan nor did it explain whether the policemen pursued the attackers or made any effort to stop them from escaping.
Court said that there is contradiction between both reports, presented before the court.
The chief justice was also astonished at the conflicting numbers of attackers being reported by different witnesses.
The chief justice said that according to the IGP’s report, two gunmen attacked the court premises. However, he said that the number of attackers reported by lawyers was greater than eight.
The IG replied that further evidence was still being collected.
The court ordered the IG Islamabad to submit a revised report within two days.
During the hearing, Justice Azmat Saeed said that reports by the Islamabad chief commissioner and the IGP Islamabad were contradictory.
The IGP Islamabad’s report stated that according to the evidence collected so far, there were two assailants involved in the attack. However, Islamabad chief commissioner’s report stated that there were more than two attackers.
The chief commissioner’s report further stated that the deputy commissioner is carrying out an inquiry into the attack and so far 154 people have recorded their statements.
The chief justice questioned how investigation into the incident will proceed if the number of attackers is not known yet. Chief Justice raising questions said that whether the area the attackers were chased, police tried to cordoned of the terrorists? Did the entrances and exits were blocked after the incident.
CJP said that IG should give the answers of these questions in its report within two days. It is the security situation of federal capital what would be the situation in other cities
Meanwhile Khalid Noon, the reader of the slain Additional Sessions Judge Rafaqat Ahmed Awan appeared before the apex court and stated that the police were pressuring him to tamper his statements.
He alleged that the police wanted him to say that Awan was accidentally shot and killed by his own guard during the attack.
Awan’s brother Colonel Safdar Hussain, however, claimed that the reader was a liar, adding that he had visited the court room where judge was killed only four bullets have been fired and Judge Rafaqat Hussain was killed inside the chamber.
Chief Justice Jillani responding deceased judge brother, said that we feel every judge as our brother and included in your grievances but You are not eye witness, so let the inquiry to be completed.
The former president Lahore High Court Bar Rawalpindi Sheikh Ahasan uddin told the court that Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan giving statement in National Assembly has de-tracked the probe.
During the hearing the reports of Chief Secretaries and Session judges East and West have been presented regarding the security measures taken by the governments for the security of the courts throughout the country.
President District Bar Islamabad talking to media said the team will be independent and include officials from the police, not below the rank of DIGs, as well as Federal Investigation Agency officials.
He further stated that the Supreme Court also ordered public figures to not give statements regarding the attack on media and other forums.
The hearing of the case was subsequently adjourned to March 17.
It is worth mentioning here that on March 3, 11 people including additional sessions judge Rafaqat Awan, were killed and 29 others wounded during a gun and bomb attack in a court in the capital city’s F-8 area.
Asad Mansoor, a spokesperson for the Ahrarul Hind which is a lesser-known splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the court attack. The group had recently parted ways with the TTP over holding of talks with the government.