Friday Aug 31, 2018
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the 'timing' of the transfer of Pakpattan District Police Officer Rizwan Gondal and summoned the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife, Khawar Maneka, on September 3 (Monday).
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu notice of the DPO's transfer following an alleged altercation with Maneka.
The IG Punjab Kaleem Imam, Sahiwal's Regional Police Officer (RPO) Shariq Kamal and DPO Gondal appeared before the apex court.
As the hearing got under way, Justice Nisar observed, "What is this case? For the past five days, the whole nation has been discussing it."
"I have been repeatedly saying this that we want to make the police force independent and empowered," he remarked. If the transfer was made on the request of the chief minister or the person sitting next to him then this is not right."
The chief justice questioned, "Why was the DPO asked to visit Maneka's house to apologise and why was he transferred at 1am?
"We will see how transfers are made under pressure," he said.
At this, IG Imam informed the court that the transfer was a departmental affair.
Justice Nisar said that if a woman was walking and the police inquired, then what was wrong with it. The IG Punjab replied that the woman's hand was held.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked, "We will not tolerate political interference or influence."
DPO Gondal informed the court that after being ordered he went to the CM House at 10pm on the day of the incident.
He told the bench that he sent a WhatsApp message to IG Punjab detailing the events of the incident. "When I reached there, the Punjab CM introduced Ahsan Jameel as his brother," Gondal said.
"Ahsan Jameel asked me about the Maneka family and said there seems to be a conspiracy against them," Gondal informed the court, adding that at 12:30am the RPO was informed about his transfer.
During the hearing, RPO Kamal said that police tried to stop Maneka was stopped at the checkpoint, but he didn't not stop and misbehaved with the personnel.
The chief justice said the dots were connecting that the transfer was made on the orders of Punjab chief minister, questioning if Maneka had submit a written complaint.
The IG Punjab said Maneka had emailed a complaint regarding harassment of his daughter.
Justice Nisar inquired if the DPO had misbehaved with the woman, to which the IG replied that the DPO didn't misbehave.
Investigating officer of the case Additional IG Abubakr Khuda Baksh said the first incident of mistreatment of a woman took place on August 5, but no action was taken on it until August 23.
Baksh said the DPO should have investigated the incident.
At this, DPO Gondal spoke under oath that none of the police personnel informed him about the incident.
During the hearing, the chief justice also inquired where Ahsan Jameel Gujjar and Khawar Maneka were.
The bench then ordered Khawar Maneka and Ahsan Jameel to appear before it by 4pm today. However, later it asked them to appear before the court on Monday instead.
The court also summoned Ibrahim Maneka, Ahsan Jameel, DIG Shehzada Sultan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar's personal secretary, as well as his chief security officer for the hearing on Monday.
The IG Punjab was directed to ensure presence of aforementioned individuals.
The court directed Pakpattan DPO Rizwan Gondal and the RPO to submit affidavits.
The Punjab advocate general was also directed to come prepared on the next hearing with regard to the apex court's verdicts pertaining to Article-62(1)(f).
The hearing of the case was then adjourned till September 3 (Monday).
On Thursday, the top court had summoned the Pakpattan DPO, Inspector General Punjab Police and the Regional Police Officer in personal capacity.
The inquiry officer was also summoned for the hearing along with his report on the matter.
According to an inquiry report forwarded to IG Punjab, Gondal was responsible for not conducting an inquiry against officers who misbehaved with Bushra Bibi's ex-husband Khawar Maneka.
The report stated that the DPO 'twisted' the matter and shared it on social media.
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 IG Punjab, 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.