IHC orders govt to set up human rights courts this week

Orders legal action against Punjab IG (Prisons) and Adiala Jail Superintendent over custodial torture

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday directed the federal government to establish human rights courts this week.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions during the hearing of a case related to the torture of the Adiala Jail prisoners.

The chief justice said that the cases of human rights violations will be heard in a special court. He said that there are strong laws related to human rights which can deal with violations.

During the hearing, Justice Minallah said that the court will not tolerate torture inflicted upon the prisoners and that the inhuman practice of custodial torture should end now.

He ordered action against the Inspectorate General of Prisons Punjab and the superintendent of Adiala Jail.

At this, PTI leader Asad Umar said: “No one is safe now, not even Arshad Sharif.”

The IHC chief justice said that even the food brought for the prisoners by the visitors is taken away by the staff.

An official of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) informed the court that 11 children have been granted bail but have no place to go.

At this, the chief justice asked: “Why shouldn’t we keep those children in Prime Minister or Chief Minister’s House?”

The NCHR secretary said that about 1,400 prisoners are drug addicts and there is only one male doctor for 4,000 prisoners.

To this, Justice Minallah said that NCHR has wide-ranging powers and can even hire consultants.

He said that the commission can access any prisoner and even the superintendent of the jail cannot stop it. “This court sends you all the complaints it receives every day,” he said to the secretary.

Justice Minallah also directed to provide a copy of the report to Asad Umar so that he could apprise his government in Punjab.

Stay against Bhara Kahu bypass

Separately, the IHC on Monday extended its stay order till next date against the work on Bhara Kahu bypass project to the extent of Qauid-e-Azam University and also made the residents of Murree and Kashmir as respondents in the case.

Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the case filed by the professors of the said university against the Bhara Kahu project. During the hearing, the residents of Murree and Kashmir and others filed a plea seeking to become party in the above case. They adopted the stance that the bypass project was being executed to facilitate the public and prayed the court to terminate the stay order against it.

The court remarked that there was no doubt that the project was for public welfare but there was a need to fulfill the legal formalities. It further said that apparently the CDA had given more valuable land to the university, adding that the university administration should make its professors aware regarding these benefits.

The lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the CDA had submitted its case regarding the environmental evaluation of the project and it was pending with it. The court inquired that whether the CDA could continue its work on the project without the approval of EPA or whether an action against CDA official should be taken on it.

The CDA’s lawyer said the stance that the petitioners were just blackmailing the civic body by stopping work on the project. The court adjourned further hearing of the case till October 28.

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