Since the newly retired Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed is expected to spend the majority of his time in Karachi, the federal government has suggested that the Sindh Rangers and provincial police provide him with security.
An interior ministry source told Dawn that the suggestion came from the interior ministry’s threat assessment committee, which included senior police officials, representatives from the administration, and intelligence agencies. The committee met soon after the Supreme Court registrar’s office wrote to the interior secretary requesting complete security for Justice Ahmed after his retirement.
The committee was led by an Islamabad police senior officer with the rank of deputy inspector general. It looked over the registrar’s letter and recommended that the Sindh Rangers and police be ordered to provide the necessary security, and that if the former chief justice travelled outside of Sindh, local security services, including the Rangers and police, be delegated to ensure his safety.
The ministry’s suggestion comes after the registrar of the Supreme Court requested protection after a former chief judge delivered rulings in several high-profile cases.
Days before his retirement on February 1, the SC registrar’s office wrote a one-page letter to the interior secretary, with the permission of the then CJP, requesting the continuation of Justice Ahmed’s watertight security and gunmen after his retirement.
The former CJP, who hung up his robes on February 1, was credited with a number of high-profile verdicts in cases of public importance, including terrorism, extrajudicial killings, minorities issues, fundamental rights enforcement, restoration of the Karachi Circular Railway, removal of encroachments, and the launch of criminal investigations into officials involved in misconduct, according to the Jan 27 letter.
“At the residence of a retired judge during his lifetime, deployment of one security guard by the concerned police so that after every eight hours a new security guard replaces the former security guard,” according to paragraph 25(1)(e) of the Supreme Court Judges (Leave Pension and Privileges) Order 1997.
Given the nature of the former CJP’s office and the high-profile cases he presided over, the letter went on to say that his and his family’s safety was in jeopardy. As a result, in the larger national and public interest, the government may take all possible measures to protect Justice Ahmed’s life, liberty, and honour after his retirement, as mandated by the Constitution, and order the continuation of the same foolproof police and Rangers security/escort/gunmen performing duties with the former CJP after retirement at his residence and during travel, it added.
Meanwhile, as part of their study tour, a 49-member delegation from Quetta’s Command and Staff College paid a visit to current Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial at the Supreme Court on Friday.
The delegation was led by Lt Col Hashim Iqbal Bajwa and included course participants from the military bureaucracies of 20 allied countries.
The CJP welcomed the delegation and provided an outline of the 1973 Constitution, as well as information on the Pakistani trichotomy of power, the functions and importance of each state organ – legislative, executive, judiciary, and media.
He also gave the delegation an overview of the judicial system, including its functions, tasks, and administration of justice, as well as the Supreme Court’s, high courts’, and district courts’ constitutional jurisdiction. He noted that the Supreme Court had special judicial review authority over specific acts of the state’s legislative and executive branches based on the Constitution’s criteria.
Justice Bandial also briefed the delegation about the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, emphasising that Pakistan’s armed forces play a critical role and are regarded in high regard. The military forces are also governed by some constitutional provisions and may be called upon to assist civilian democratic institutions in unusual circumstances like as floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, according to the CJP. He also mentioned the 25th Amendment, which insured that the newly amalgamated tribal areas were subject to the rule of law.