Monday Sep 17, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, former Punjab IG Kaleem Imam and others on Monday tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court in a case pertaining to the transfer of former Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a suo motu notice of the former DPO's transfer following an alleged altercation with Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan's wife.
The Punjab chief minister and Ahsan Iqbal Jamil, a close friend of the Maneka family, appeared before the court after being summoned earlier today.
Buzdar told the court, "On my third day after taking charge as provincial chief minister I learnt of the altercation between the Maneka family and police."
"I wanted the matter to be resolved through consensus," he added.
Justice Nisar then asked the Punjab CM, "Did you summon police officers at 10pm?" To this, Buzdar replied, "I asked them about their health, offered them tea and asked the regional police officer (RPO) to resolve the matter himself."
"I did not exert any political pressure," Buzdar said. "I was not in contact with anyone over Gondal's transfer."
To this, the chief justice remarked, "The inquiry will reveal all about who was in contact with who."
He further questioned Buzdar, "What was the need for Jamil to be present when you called the police officers? He claims to be the guardian of the children but how can he be guardian when the children's parents are alive?"
Justice Nisar continued, "Your RPO said that in the morning the DPO should not be present for duty."
Former Punjab IG Kaleem Imam then assured the chief justice that no such thing will happen in the future. To this, Justice Nisar remarked, "You broke our trust and did not submit a proper inquiry report."
The chief justice then rejected the former IG's report and directed senior police officer Khalid Lak to inquire into the transfer of the former Pakpattan DPO and submit a report within 15 days.
Following this, Buzdar and Jamil tendered an unconditional apology to the apex court. Further, former Punjab IG Kaleem Imam left himself to the mercy of the court and also tendered an unconditional apology.
Earlier today, the chief justice rejected an inquiry report submitted by former Punjab IG Kaleem Imam.
In his report submitted to the SC on September 12, the former Punjab IG stated that Punjab CM Buzdar's intervention in the case was beyond the scope of the inquiry. The report did not hold anyone responsible for the transfer of Gondal.
Expressing anger at the former Punjab IG, the chief justice said, "We had faith in you and that's why we directed you to prepare an inquiry report into the incident but you did it with mala fide intentions. You will not be able to serve in the police if we recommend that."
Justice Nisar continued, "We trusted you to inquire into the political intervention in the case but you broke our trust."
"Tell us yourself, are you eligible to be an IG? In order to save one person, you destroyed the whole police force," the chief justice added.
He further questioned the former Punjab IG, "Who is Jamil to seek clarification from the DPO? Did you not feel ashamed while writing the report?"
Directing Imam to take his police badge off, Justice Nisar said, "Former DPO Pakpattan was suspiciously transferred at 1am and you wrote in the report that nothing wrong happened."
He further asked Imam, "What investigation did you conduct? The statements of the regional police officer and the DPO do not match. Why didn't you stop the police officers from meeting the Punjab CM?"
In response, Imam said that when he found out about the incident he was in Islamabad. However, the chief justice remarked, "You were in Islamabad, not in another country."
"The Punjab CM watched police officers get reprimanded in front of him. Call Buzdar," he added.
Turning to Imam once again, the chief justice said, "We gave you a chance but you missed it. The court will decide whether you completed you work honestly or not." He also asked the former Punjab IG to hire a counsel for his defence.
The hearing of the case was then adjourned till 2pm till the Punjab CM and Jamil appeared before the court.
Last month, reports of Gondal's transfer sparked controversy as speculation suggested that the police officer was transferred because of the August 23 altercation between police and Khawar Maneka — the former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan's wife.
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.
Then Punjab IGP, Imam, 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.