Apex court says report on event submitted by Punjab Police has ‘many lapses’

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure on a report that was submitted by the Punjab Police on a drag race in which five people had lost their lives, saying there were many lapses in it.

A four-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing a suo motu case regarding the deaths in the drag race held in Bahria Town, Rawalpindi last year.

Former inspector general and now IB Director Kaleem Imam tendered unconditional apology for talking to investigation officer DIG Maj (r) Mubashir on the phone and directing him to accept the affidavits being filed on behalf of Ali Riaz and others. The bench accepted the apology, warning him not to interfere in court’s matters in the future.

Punjab Advocate General, Khawaja Haris, informed the court that an order passed during the last hearing, which directed secretaries from the ministries of interior and foreign affairs and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general to extradite Atif Sheikh, one of the organisers of the race, to Pakistan, was not complied.

He said that according to the police there was no evidence of Riaz’s involvement in the deaths, adding that the accused had filed applications in the courts that the families of the people killed in the race had pardoned them.

The CJP said if Riaz has done nothing wrong then why had he been seeking an apology from the victims’ families. The CJP also inquired from Bahria Town counsel, Hamid Khan, whether the said had happened. Khan expressed ignorance, saying; “I have no knowledge about it.”

Justice Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday remarked that the police had spared influential persons, but was arresting those who were working for the Bahria Town. The investigation officer answered that Atif Sheikh had been the main organiser of the race and had given permission for it to be held.