Jaranwala tragedy: Formation of judicial commission likely

From Abid Usman

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has instructed the Punjab chief secretary to take a decision in connection with a petition seeking formation of a judicial commission for an inquiry into the Jaranwala tragedy within 15 days.
The direction for the provincial chief secretary came from Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi during Friday’s hearing, when the public prosecutor responded in negative on being questioned if a judicial commission was formed to look into the incident. In the plea, the petitioner has requested the high court to issue orders for an inquiry into the Jaranwala tragedy by a judicial commission, contending that the fundamental rights of the minority community (the Christians) have been violated in the incident. The petitioner has pleaded that the method being employed for investigation has met sluggishness and the Christian community doubts if this method will live up to their expectations fort justice and fairness. The Supreme Court Friday asked for the progress report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Jaranwala incident.
According to details, Supreme Court heard various petitions filed on Jaraanwala tragedy and sought the progress report of JIT.
The report has been sought from the Advocate General Punjab and Inspector General (IG) Punjab. Also asked for a report on the steps taken after the incident. It also sought a report from Punjab Home Department on the steps taken after the incident.
Court said that IG Punjab should also give a report on the actions taken on the hate speeches, directing the Advocate General to put the matter of writing the ‘Christian’ word before the Deputy Commissioner (DC) office.
Petitioner said churches were burnt with chemicals. Supreme Court directed that destroyed churches should be repaired on priority basis. Islamabad police should provide protection to Christian community. Some people ran away from their houses in fear and suffered damage to their properties. The court asked for a report on whether the damage to the property has been remedied. It was also appealed by the petitioner that a report should be sought regarding the safety of Christian community in Punjab. The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of Jaranwala tragedy case for two weeks.
Earlier, The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government objections on a five-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial hearing petitions against the audio leaks commission.
In a short verdict announced by Justice Ahsan today, the apex court bench termed the previous government’s objections to the apex court judges tantamount to an “attack” on the judiciary.
The five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by CJ Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed, was formed earlier in May this year to hear petitions against the then government’s move to form inquiry commission led by senior puisne Judge Qazi Faez Isa to probe audio leaks involving the supreme court judges.

Subsequently, the then PDM government filed a civil miscellaneous application (CMA) in the apex court requesting that Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar recuse themselves from the five-member larger bench hearing the instant matter.