Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti has lauded Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali Khan and Lahore CCPO Bilal Saeed Kamyana over the recovery of a teenage student, who was kidnapped in broad daylight from Shadbagh area of the provincial capital.
CJ Bhatti disposed of a suo motu notice taken over the kidnapping of Ayesha Zulfiqar after IGP Rao Sardar submitted a report before the court and confirmed her recovery. The CJ had taken suo motu notice on Sunday — the first time in the recent past that a LHC chief justice had conducted court proceedings on Sunday. CCPO Kamyana, Additional Advocate General Jawad Yaqub and Abdul Aziz Awan were present in the court.
“The girl student has been recovered,” the IGP said in his report as the court resumed hearing on 10pm. Rao Sardar said she was recovered from Arifwala area. The father and the uncle of the girl were also present there in the courtroom. Addressing the girl’s father, the CJ asked, “Whether your daughter has been recovered”. On it, he replied, “Yes, they have recovered my daughter.” At this, the CJ observed that the efforts put in by the IGP and the CCPO were commendable.
“This is not just about the daughter but the matter of a whole family,” the CJ remarked. The chief justice had earlier given a time of 6pm to the police for the girl’s recovery, but the IGP and the CCPO turned up before the court and sought time for her recovery. At this, the CJ gave them more time to recover her, warning them of serious action if they failed to do so.
“What is the benefit of all such efforts if the girl spends the night out of her home? She is my daughter, and you should also consider her your daughter,” remarked the chief justice. The CJ also said, “You should have blocked all the roads,”. On it, the IGP replied, “The girl was in Sahiwal, and efforts were being made to recover her.” At this, the CJ observed that the kidnappers took the girl out from their [police] hands to Sahiwal. The IGP then sought time for the recovery of the girl.
The CJ rejected his plea and said that the court was not conducted on Sunday to give him time. Law Officer Jawad Yaqub asked the court to stop media coverage of the girl’s matter. At this, the CJ expressed concerns and observed whether they should give it to the media or would the investigators do that.
“I ask the prime minister right now to remove the IGP and the CCPO over this matter,” the CJ remarked. IGP Rao Sardar admitted that it was their failure and pleaded with the court to give time for her recovery. The CJ then gave him time to recover the girl till 10pm. It is pertinent to mention that a day earlier, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah conducted court proceedings at 11pm in Islamabad to hear a case related to the abduction of PTI leader Shireen Mazari in broad daylight.
Last month, Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial said that the judiciary is the defender of the constitution and it works round the clock. He gave these remarks after criticism over the courts’ opening at midnight on April 9.