|Life and death have become hard for the poor: SC|
21 July 2012
ISLAMABAD: Expressing dissatisfaction with the Punjab Police report on a mother of five children being stoned to death in Khanewal on the orders of a Panchayat, the Supreme Court on Friday observed that both life and death had become difficult for those who were poor. “Being poor is a bigger crime in this country than committing a crime that falls in the purview of Section 302 and speaking up as a poor person is an even bigger crime than that. Everything here is only for the rich,” the CJ lamented.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing a suo moto case on the stoning of a woman in Khanewal on the orders of a Panchayat.
The chief justice wondered what the Khadim-e-Aala (chief minister) was actually aware of if he didn’t know of the woman’s stoning. He said nobody was indispensable and graveyards were full with indispensable people.
In his remarks, the chief justice also scathingly criticised the inspector general of police, Punjab, and expressed his concern over the growing crimes in the province, also seeking complete details about the crime rate. The chief justice remarked that the IG police could also be transferred because a mother of five had been killed while the culprits were not being arrested. “Should the Supreme Court order the suspension of the inspector general of police, Punjab?” the chief justice asked. “The inspector general of police can meet the same fate that Fayyaz Leghari met in the Sarfaraz Shah murder case in Karachi.”
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that everything was for the elite class in this country and there was nothing for the poor. “Both life and death have been made difficult for the poor,” he lamented. “When will the government and its cronies come to their senses?”
During the course of hearing, the chief justice expressed dissatisfaction with the Punjab Police report in the case, saying that it was filed with mala fide intention and did not mention the role of Panchayat.
The CJ remarked that the woman was killed while her spouse was also missing but no serious measures were taken. The court directed the advocate general, Punjab, to recover the spouse of the woman killed in the incident and produce him before the court.
Later, after a break in the proceedings, Punjab Advocate General Ashtar Ausaf made a statement before the court that the husband of the killed woman had been recovered. He further told the court that according to a witness, the husband had himself killed the woman, adding that it was expected that the Punjab chief minister would visit the place of the crime.
At this, the chief justice reminded that the missing husband was recovered on the court’s order, wondering why the police didn’t take prompt action against the killers or ensured justice to the aggrieved family. The court summoned Punjab IG Haji Habibur Rehman for his negligence in the instant case at the next date of hearing. The apex court also directed the Punjab advocate general to inform the chief minister about the Punjab IG’s attitude in the instant case.
The court observed that officials who could not ensure the protection of fundamental rights should not be appointed on important posts. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till July 30. It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court had taken suo moto notice of the killing of one Maryam Bibi, 25, mother of five children. As per media reports, Maryam Bibi was cutting grass on the field of a landlord in Khanewal, who allegedly pressed her to have illicit relations with him. The woman, however, refused to follow the order of the landlord who ultimately ordered his men to teach her a lesson. They went to her house and killed her by hitting her on the head with stones. Moreover, the landlord also abducted her husband. The police registered a case against nine accused for the murder of the poor woman. The heirs of the woman, later, appealed to senior officials for action against the accused.
The three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, also heard the appeal for the cancellation of bail in the murder case of the brother of Uzma Ayub, an alleged gang-rape victim, in Karak. The court ordered the additional advocate general that the non-arrest of an accused, Ibrahim, despite the passage of eight months, should be brought to the notice of the IGP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Raja Aamir, the counsel for the accused, told the court that the dead brother of Uzma was an accomplice of a don in the area and also faced several cases. The court adjourned the hearing till July 23.
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