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Law ministry blamed for failure of PoPA courts

Law ministry blamed for failure of PoPA courts

ISLAMABAD: If a letter written by a district and sessions judge in Rawalpindi, who was designated as a special judge under the Protection of Pakistan Act (PoPA), is to be believed, the lethargy of the ministry of law and justice was the key factor behind the failure of PoPA courts.

According to the letter written by District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Mohsin Raza Khan to the Lahore High Court (LHC), after notifying the PoPA court in Rawalpindi in September 2015 the ministry of law did not take any interest to run its affairs for the speedy trial of terrorists, which was the prime objective of the National Action Plan.




The letter was written to the LHC a couple of days before PoPA lapsed on July 15.

Judge Khan wrote to the LHC in connection with a pending case related to the trial of the accused facing the charges of kidnapping a member of the Punjab Assembly from the motorway.

The PoPA judge in the letter dated July 13 stated that the court was established under the high profile agenda of National Action Plan’, and came into existence on September 2, 2015.

“It may regretfully be mentioned that at that particular occasion of taking over charge of this court, there was no place of sitting or any infrastructure, or judicial staff of the court was available.”

The judge said with the help of the local judiciary he got the premises of the civil court to be used as the courtroom.

The letter said the law ministry did not even bother to reply to the various reminders sent to it from time to time for the provision of the necessary facilities and staff to run the court.

It said the ministry did nothing to equip the court except attachment of the newly-appointed under-training stenotypist who had already been working with the accountability court, Rawalpindi.

According to the judge, “this raw-handed official can hardly cope with the work load of a session trial. Besides, there is no reader or other staff to maintain record and issue process (notice) during the trial.”

As a last resort, the judge said, he made a telephonic contact with the secretary law on June 23 to apprise him of the situation and again on her request faxed her all the letters but never got any reply.

The letter said these facts rendered the PoPA court handicapped and unable to commence the trial in pending cases.

It may be mentioned that this was not the first time a PoPA judge raised such concerns. In September last year, another judge, Muqarab Khan, reportedly informed the LHC that he had not been provided with security personnel, court staff, a residence and an official vehicle.

When contacted, the staff of Secretary Law and Justice Nyla Qureshi asked this reporter to contact Haider Ali, the senior joint secretary of the ministry.

Mr Ali told Dawn that the law had now expired; therefore, no such request from the PoPA courts could be entertained.

“In case PoPA is renewed, the law ministry is duty-bound to equip the courts with all facilities and necessary staff,” he said.

He claimed that before the expiry of the law, the ministry was providing all the required resources to the PoPA courts.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2016

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