Islamabad, Oct 12: Pakistan President Arif Alvi sacked a high court judge on Thursday after a high-level constitutional body recommended his removal for making a scathing speech against the country’s powerful spy agency ISI.
The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) had recommended to remove Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who was facing a case of alleged misconduct over his controversial speech targeting the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Justice Siddiqui while addressing the Rawalpindi District Bar Association on July 21 had alleged that the ISI was manipulating judicial proceedings to constitute panel of judges to get favourable decisions.
The army had asked the chief justice of Pakistan to take the notice of the remarks after IHC chief justice Anwar Kansi rejected the allegations against Siddique.
The matter was referred to the SJC, which is the body to take up complaints against judges of higher courts and also recommend punitive actions including removal from judiciary.
A five-member SJC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the case.
The SJC after hearing the case issued its decision on Thursday, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan to remove Siddique as his conduct was unbecoming of a judge.
The Council is unanimously of the opinion that in the matter of making his speech…Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, Judge, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad had displayed conduct unbecoming of a judge of High Court and was, thus, guilty of misconduct and he is, therefore, liable to be removed from his office, the panel said.
The 39-page opinion of the SJC was penned by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
Later, the law ministry issued a notification that President Alvi removed Siddiqui as IHC judge in the light of recommendations of the SJC.
Siddiqui’s lawyer Hamid Khan said that though there is no provision of appeal against the decision of the SJC but he will take the matter to the Supreme Court.
Siddiqui is the second judge removed by SJC since removal of Justice Shaukat Ali of Lahore High Court in 1973 for corruption.
Most of the judges have opted to tender their resignation to avoid an SJC inquiry. However, Justice Siddiqui opted to face the charges of misconduct.
The proceeding of the case against judge Ali went on for 10 months.
Interestingly, cases of misconduct against chief justice Nisar and three other judges of Supreme Court have been with the SJC for a long time but no proceeding has taken place. But the case against Siddiqui was decided after preliminary hearing held in-camera.
Siddiqui is the second senior most judge of the IHC and was in line to become chief justice of IHC in November when incumbent Kansi is set to retire. (PTI)
Police seeks adjournment of Kathua rape, murder trial, says ‘accused being major or minor still undecided’
Jammu, Jul 15: Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch Monday moved a plea before a juvenile justice board hearing the case of an accused in the gangrape and murder of a young girl in Kathua, seeking deferment of the trial as the state high court is yet to decide whether he is a minor or not.
Appearing before the board, the special public prosecutor of the crime branch submitted that the high court is yet to pronounce its decision on an application moved against the decision of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he is a minor, officials said.
The board, after framing charges against the accused who played a key role in kidnapping, rape and murder of the eight-year-old nomadic girl, had fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing of trial.
The board, after examining the plea of the crime branch, however, made it clear that there was no stay by the high court on holding the trial and gave prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
The crime branch had filed a petition in the high court against the accused’s claim of being a juvenile and said that the then chief judicial magistrate in Kathua had erred in accepting it.
The crime branch had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age
However, the case has seen repeated adjournments last year.
The juvenile justice board had framed charges on July 8 following which it issued a notice to the crime branch, asking them to bring in their prosecution evidence and witnesses for the trial.
According to the notice, “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15”.
“The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/ witnesses,” it said.
The trial in this case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.
The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment, while sacked policemen Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma were handed five years in jail.
The verdict came 17 months after the girl was brutally gang-raped inside a ‘devisathan’ (local temple) and later killed. She was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17.
Four arrested for thrashing teachers, students in Budgam
Srinagar, Jul 15: Under pressure, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested four people involved in the attack on school picnickers at Raiyar village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Saturday evening.
Six people including two girls and a teacher were injured when a group of youth armed with rods and canes attacked school picnickers at Raiyar village. The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the students and teachers of Hanfiya Model Higher Secondary School (HMHSS), Kreeri in Baramulla district, were returning from Doodpathri after a daylong picnic.
Police swung into action immediately and registered a case of attempt to murder under section 307 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) against the unknown attackers.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Budgam, Amod Nagpuri told The Kashmir Monitor that four persons have been arrested and further investigation was going on.
“Yes, four persons have been arrested from Raiyar, where the incident took place. They have been booked under section 307 RPC,” Nagpuri said.
Jehangir Ahmad, a teacher at HMHSS, said photographs of eight people were sent (by police) to school authorities for identification.
“After going through the photographs, we identified four persons,” he said.
Ahmad said the injured physical teacher continues to be under observation in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
“Patient was referred from SDH Khan Sahib as a case of assault with head injury. NCCT head showing parietooccipital EDH with parietotemporal contusions,”read the SKIMS report issued on Sunday.
Police sources said that during investigation statements of the injured were also recorded and on that basis four attackers were later arrested
470 militant attacks took place in 2017, 2018: Goel tells RS
New Delhi, Jul 15: As many as 470 militant attacks took place in the country in 2017 and 2018, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to a question by BJP MP Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Defence said in 2017, 131 militant attacks occurred in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and one in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh each
In 2018, 318 militant attacks took place in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and three in Nagaland.
The minister told the House that 235 militants were killed in various counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration operations in 2017. In 2018, the number of militants killed stood at 265.
The Army lost 85 soldiers in these two years – 42 in 2017 and 43 in 2018.