ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court heard a suo motu case pertaining to the transfer of Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal on Monday.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo motu notice of the DPO’s transfer following an alleged altercation with Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife.
SC asks why DPO Gondal was transferred at 1am, summons Khawar Maneka
The apex court had earlier questioned the ‘timing’ of the Pakpattan DPO’s transfer and summoned Maneka along with his son Ibrahim Maneka, Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, DIG Shehzada Sultan, and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s personal secretary as well as his chief security officer.
After Maneka and his daughter Mubashira reached the apex court premises, Maneka told the media that he and his daughter will record a statement in the court but refused to make further comments.
As the hearing went under way, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Kaleem Imam informed the court that he did not have the file containing the written orders of Gondal’s transfer.
The chief justice then asked why action was not taken against Ahsan Gujjar. “Are you the guardian of the children?” Justice Nisar inquired Gujjar, to which the latter responded that he was the unofficial guardian. He apprised the court that Maneka’s children were under pressure and a mutual friend had called him from Africa.
The chief justice then asked how Gujjar knew the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar. “I am a [common] citizen,” Gujjar responded. Justice Nisar then said, “Do not lie in the court. How are you related to the [Maneka] children. Are you their paternal or maternal uncle?”
Justice Nisar further remarked that people could not summon the police to their homes and insult them. Former Pakpattan DPO Gondal, who was also present at the hearing said Gujjar had questioned him over not executing the message he was sent. “Gujjar told me that during the British rule, the [Maneka] family’s properties were looked after by the deputy commissioner,” Gondal said.
After Gondal’s statement, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sahiwal appeared before the court and seconded the former’s statement. The top judge then remarked why the Punjab CM had heeded a third party’s advice in the matter.
The Punjab IGP then informed the court that he had advised Gondal against going to the provincial chief minister’s house to which Justice Nisar expressed his anger. “You said that we work around the clock thereby the Pakpattan DPO was transferred at 1pm,” the judge remarked.
Moreover, the chief justice ordered the provincial police chief to show the written order of the transfer to which the latter responded by apprising the court that the orders were in fact verbally issued.
Addressing the Punjab IGP, the chief justice noted, “You forgot my instructions. I had summoned all IGPs and advised them to free themselves from political pressures. The police should not work under political pressure and at the behest of rulers.”
The Punjab IGP then responded by saying that the DPO was guilty of not taking notice of misbehaviour with a woman. To this, Justice Nisar said that as the commander the Punjab IGP had displayed integrity, however, he questioned the verbal transfer orders.
Following severe admonishment by the court, the Punjab IGP left him at the mercy of the Supreme Court. He further apprised the court that he had to make a post-dated written order of the transfer. The chief justice then demanded to see the post-dated order, to which the Punjab IGP said that he did not have the file.
The chief justice further remarked that the Punjab CM should be summoned and questioned. “People are blatantly lying in the court. The chief minister should be summoned and asked about his association with this matter,” Justice Nisar said.
“Is the Punjab CM and higher officials God? What steps are you [Punjab IG] taking to protect the integrity of the police force,” the CJP asked the provincial police chief. “We have just one mission which is to make the police force independent. The prime minister also issued a similar statement in this regard.”
Furthermore, Maneka’s daughter informed the court that the on-duty police officials were intoxicated. “My daughter was trembling due to the behaviour [of police officers],” remarked Maneka.
Addressing Maneka, the chief justice said, “Are you alive? You have given your children’s custody to someone else,” he said. The chief justice also remarked that what had happened with Maneka’s daughter was wrong.
Later, the Supreme Court ordered a report on political intervention in the police force. The Punjab IG was put in charge of the probe into political intervention whereas the additional IG was made responsible to conduct the inquiry of misbehaviour with Maneka’s daughter.
The hearing was then adjourned till September 10.
Reports of Gondal’s transfer sparked a controversy earlier this week, as speculation suggested that the police officer was transferred because of the August 23 altercation between the police and Maneka.
According to reports, police personnel under Gondal’s watch tried to stop Maneka at a checkpoint for speeding but he did not stop. The police then chased his vehicle and managed to intercept him.
The Punjab IGP Imam, soon after the reports, denied that Gondal was transferred under any pressure and said it was done due to his giving misleading statements about misbehaviour by police personnel with a citizen.