Right to Fair Trial under Article 10-A being violated with abandon: PAT
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference at the Lahore Press Club, central PAT leaders along with the team of lawyers engaged in fighting Model Town case have said that the Punjab Government is murdering justice by not holding fair trial under Article 10-A of the Constitution after formation of the highly questionable JIT. They said that there is no difference in the behaviour of the police, JIT and the anti-terrorism court. They said that apprehension expressed by Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri regarding non-provision of justice in the presence of current rulers is coming true word for word.
The PAT leaders namely Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, Major (r ) Muhammad Saeed, Rai Bashir Ahmad Advocate, Mirza Naveed Baig Advocate, Naeem-ud-Din Chaudhry Advocate, and central Secretary Information Noorullah Saddiqi addressed the press conference together. They said that we have 15 constitutional points regarding non-fulfilment of right to fair trial. They said that we appeal to the lawyers’ community and national and international human rights organizations to play their role for redressal of our grievances.
Talking about the 15 points of acute concern, Khurram Nawaz Gandapur said:
- Each of our legal petitions is rejected on the spot without fulfilment of legal requirements.
- Notices are not issued on 90% of petitions we submit.
- Evidence is being recorded in the absence of the PAT lawyers.
- Documents, which are not acceptable legally, are made part of the record and the PAT lawyers are not informed about such a practice.
- The PAT lawyers are forced to cross-examine the witnesses without provision of copies of the documents and proofs that are part of the judicial record.
- Evidences of a dozen witnesses are recorded on daily basis and the PAT lawyers are forced to cross-examine there and then.
- Such a practice is against the Law of Evidence and prevalent judicial norms.
- Legal proceedings are completed within no time through the government’s lawyer in the absence of PAT lawyers.
- This is the unique case of Pakistan’s judicial history in which the aggrieved party and those wronged by police have been made accused. They are treated like hardened criminals during the court trial. The 42 of PAT workers, deserving provision of justice and who are victim of brutality, are made to stand in courtroom for hours on end. They are harassed through police in the courtroom. This happens in front of the honourable judge. The police harassment remains the same despite this being pointed out many a time. This attitude is against the constitutional right to fair trial.
- Under Article 13 and Section 293 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the second trail of the accused in the same case cannot be undertaken nor can they be awarded double punishment. But this law is being torn into shreds in case of the Model Town tragedy.
- PAT moved the honourable Lahore High Court against one-sided trial in the anti-terrorism court, second indictment, and the double trial. Here too, even notices were not issued and our petitions were summarily rejected.
- Our legal petitions are not termed as maintainable in the Model Town tragedy case and they are thrown out without assigning any reason and without fulfilling the legal requirements.
- The 42 workers of PAT, who fell victim to police torture and brutality and were nominated as accused by police, include students, labourers, and old citizens. Their educational and economic future has been destroyed. Now an effort is being to declare these poor and oppressed people as being responsible for the Model Town tragedy, what to speak of provision of justice to them.
- The judge of anti-terrorism court II, when he is rendered speechless on the legal points, asks us to go to the ‘higher’ forum and when we go there, we are asked to go home. The media and nation should tell as to where we should go for justice.
- The institutions, which were established for provision of justice and protection to the people, are committing oppression out of fear of the powerful rulers. The judge, hearing the Model Town case, has become a prosecutor instead of becoming a presiding officer and the prosecutors are playing the role of a judge in the courtroom. We say this regretfully that justice is being murdered in the Model Town case due to nexus of the judge and the prosecution. The anti-terrorism court is being controlled from outside and the judge who seems to be in undue haste in this case, wants to give an order before April. Therefore, he continues to take instructions on the phone during the hearings. The fair trail of Model Town case is not being carried out in the light of Article 10-A of the Constitution.
Khurram Nawaz Gandapur and Muhammad Saeed said that we are not likely to get justice as long as the present rulers are in power. They said that it is in our knowledge that decisions have already been made and trial is just an eye-wash. They, however, added in categorical terms that the blood of martyrs of Model Town will not go in vain nor will we allow anyone to murder justice. Appealing to the Army Chief, they said that it was on his orders that FIR was registered, requesting that he should now play his role for provision of justice and compliance of the process with fair trial.
The PAT leaders said that the patience of the PAT and MQI workers should not be tested anymore. They said that when these workers take to streets, the rulers flee from the capital. They said that our workers are intensely anxious due to non-provision of justice in the Model Town case.