Gilgit, May 22: A bench of the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan issued show-cause notices to Deputy Commissioner Sibtain and SSP Ali Zia of District Gilgit for repeatedly failing to arrest and present three provincial secretaries in handcuffs in front of the judges.
The Chief Court had earlier issued non-bailable arrest warrants of Hanif Channa, Finance Secretary, Attaur Rehman, Interior Secretary and Khalid Mehmood, Law Secretary, for “committing contempt of court” by not following the court’s explicit orders vis-a-vis recruitment of 36 public prosecutors across Gilgit-baltistan.
The District Administration and the police had been instructed to arrest the secretaries and present them in front of the court on Wednesday (21 May 2013).
Today, when Justice Muhammad Alam and Justice Wazir Shakil reached the court room they found the three secretaries sitting there.
The judges ordered the secretaries to leave the court room immediately.
Later, the judges called and instructed the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Gilgit and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to formally arrest and present the three secretaries in handcuffs in the court, as “their non-bailable arrest warrants had already been issued”. The court was adjounred for tea after passing of the orders to the district officials.
After tea break, the three secretaries came to the court along with the DC and SSP. However, the secretaries had not been arrested and handcuffed. Judge Muhammad Alam inquired from the police as to why the court’s orders were not being followed and showed displeasure at the conduct of the police and administration head. The Court was adjourned again, and the DC and SSP were ordered to present the Secretaries in handcuffs in front of the judges after the break.
After the break, the court proceedings started but the secretaries and the DC and SSP abstained from appearing in the court room.
On this, the judges issued show-cause notices to the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, instructing them to explain as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be started against them. They were alternatively instructed to arrest the secretaries and present them in handcuffs in the court on 28th May 2014.
A large number of journalists, police officials and other people remained present at the court premises throughout the day as the court started proceedings and adjourned it thrice.
The Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan also appeared at the scene, reportedly to have a cup of tea with one of the judges. He told the media on inquiry that his visit was unrelated to the situation at hand and that the courts were free and their decisions should be followed by all and sundry!
On the other hand, the secretaries have reportedly decided to challenge the Chief Court’s decision in the Supreme Appellate Court.
Meanwhile, the secretariat staff have threatened to start a pen-down strike in protest against the treatment meted to the secretaries, who are considered to be in the top lot of bureaucrats at the provincial level, by the second highest court of Gilgit-Baltistan.
On the other hand, Young Lawyers Association officials have said that efforts to undermine the court’s sanctity would be foiled. They have threatened that if the court’s decision was not followed the lawyers will come on the streets in protest.