CJP blasts ‘very disappointing’ Faizabad dharna commission report



ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Monday censured a “very disappointing” Faizabad sit-in inquiry commission report, saying that he was “surprised” after reading the document. 

The CJP made these comments as a three-member bench — headed by himself — resumed the hearing of the federal government’s review petition after the inquiry commission, formed to probe the Faizabad sit-in, submitted its report. 

The bench also comprised Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Naeem Akhtar Awan.

The Faizabad sit-in commission, which was constituted on Supreme Court orders following the case pertaining to the 2017 sit-in at Faizabad led by former Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, gave a clean chit to the former spymaster and former Punjab Rangers director general Major General (retd) Azhar Naveed Hayat.

The commission was led by Dr Akhtar Ali Shah, a former officer of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, and included senior PAS official Khushhal Khan and former inspector general Tahir Alam.

The probe body was tasked with identifying the perpetrators who facilitated the sit-in. However, it simply suggested taking legal action against the individuals in light of the federal government and Punjab’s findings.

Today’s hearing

As the hearing began, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan read the inquiry commission’s report.

“What did the commission do? It just wasted time. The commission is just making speeches,” said CJP Isa during the hearing. 

“I am surprised to read the report, they should have constructed the sentence correctly as to who had committed the violation,” said the CJP, adding that the report “doesn’t seem to be serious”.

The CJP said that the commission did not provide any “finding”, questioning the commission’s input. “Had the verdict been implemented in the Faizabad sit-in case, the May 9 incident would not have taken place,” he observed.

CJP Isa asked the AGP if anyone belonging to the Tehreek-e-Laibbaik Pakistan (TLP) was summoned. At this, the AGP replied in the negative.

“The TLP people might have helped if they were summoned. They were a party in this case and their point of view was important,” said the chief justice.

Expressing his anger over the report, the CJP said that the commission just submitted the report with idioms in it.

He questioned how many times ex-spymaster Lt-Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed was referred to. “It seems that all this was done just to exonerate General Faiz,” he observed.

The CJP asked how many times Gen (retd) Faiz was summoned, to which, the AGP said “once”.

AGP Awan said that they had sent a questionnaire to Gen (retd) Faiz and he had sent his answers.

At this point, the CJP said: “Army is a part of this government. How did it become sacred?” 

Later, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) former chairman Absar Alam came to the rostrum, saying he was also mentioned in the report.

The CJP said that Alam had said Gen (retd) Faiz contacted him. However, he added, the report says there is no evidence of contact between the two.

“If he [Alam] is saying that he was contacted, then the commission should have summoned Gen (retd) Faiz. The commission should have questioned them and written down the result,” said the CJP.

The chief justice said that it was not right to accept one statement and reject the other.

Justice Akhtar said that the commission took Alam’s statement on oath but is not taking Faiz’s statement.

“We have not endorsed the commission’s report yet,” said CJP Isa.

The attorney general sought two weeks’ time to inform the court about the government’s response to the report.

The top court said that the commission members, if they wish, can respond to preliminary observations of the court. “The commission members can clarify their position in writing or by appearing in court if they wish,” added the SC.

“Maybe the commission members will convince us that it has given a very good report,” the apex court added.