Political Supreme Court gets a taste of Awami backlash! Man tries to self-immolate in Court Premises

The supreme court of Pakistan which has increasingly become a Supreme League of Pakistan – Chaudhry wing over the last few years got a taste of “awami” backlash when a person who has been visiting the Supreme Court for relief for more than three years tried to self immolate himself within the court premises. Though not at all appreciable, the act shows the despair of those trying to seek justice from an institution which touts itself to be an “island of independence and justice  in a country where nothing is right”.

A dismissed from service police constable from Multan, Asad Munir demanded “I want justice, give me justice” and then set himself on fire. Luckily the security staff at the premises acted quickly and saved the man from major burns and doused the fire.

Asma Jahangir commenting on sad incident at the SC said  that the perception that every matter could be brought before the apex court was created by the Supreme Court itself. “We have converted the Supreme Court into court number one (court of first instance),” she said.  The judicial policy, she added, should be reviewed to discourage the tendency of bringing every case to the apex court instead of going to the lower courts.

The Supreme Court unfortunately under the leadership of a playing to the galleries CJ is increasingly becoming a source of embarrassment to the government and people of Pakistan. It is hoped that the Supreme Court will take corrective measures sooner rather than later otherwise one can expect a public tirade soon against the façade our Supreme Court carries in the name of “Supremacy of Law”.

Ex-cop tries to kill himself in SC premises

 By Nasir Iqbal and Munawer Azeem

Dawn, June 21, 2011

ISLAMABAD, June 20: The surface quiet of the Supreme Court was shattered by the scream of an ordinary citizen on Monday.

Lawyers, politicians, famous plaintiffs and defendants were stopped short in their tracks when Asad Munir, a dismissed police constable from Multan, shouted “I want justice, give me justice,” before he set himself on fire inside the premises of the Supreme Court.

“For the last three years I have been running from court to court but I am still waiting for justice,” Munir screamed as he tripped and fell down the stairs to the court building entrance. He was still on fire.

The policemen on duty acted quickly and decisively. They doused him with water and ripped the burning clothes off Munir’s body. As a result the injuries were not as threatening as they could have been. Nonetheless, Munir suffered burns on his hands and thigh.

With his act of desperation, Munir managed to focus attention not only on his cause but also on the plight of other ordinary folk who are struggling to get justice in this era of suo motu cases.

“This is a very sad incident,” said Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq as he stepped outside shortly after the incident.

Others echoed his views, taking the opportunity to air their views about changes needed to reform the judicial system.

“Incidents such as self-immolation or suicide bombing reflect the despondency prevalent in our society,” observed advocate Ahmed Raza Kasuri, adding that “political cases” were being heard in the Supreme Court at the cost of ordinary ones.

He suggested it was high time for the Chief Justice, as administrative head of the judiciary, to overhaul the lower judiciary as inefficiency was forcing everyone to rush to the Supreme Court for redress.

Mr Kasuri’s words took on an added significance as Asad Munir narrated his tribulations, punctuat ed with howls of pain. “Since I filed an application before the Supreme Court, I have been running from pillar to post but to no avail.” On Monday Munir had come to the Supreme Court after filing another application for an early hearing.

“My sufferings started when I married a woman who happens to be the cousin of Parvez Akhtar, the Station House Officer (SHO) at Rajanpur, near Multan,” he claimed. It was his second marriage.

The SHO got Munir dismissed from the job four years ago and forced him to divorce his second wife at gunpoint, the man asserted.

Munir then went to court and, according to him, both the family court and the court of Additional Sessions Judge settled the matter in his favour by holding the SHO guilty.

Although Munir was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) once he got basic medical aid at the court, his act of self-immolation became the talking point at the court.

Asma Jehangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), emphasised the need for educating the public so that it realised that every case was not a matter of human rights and that the SC could only take up those issues which involved breach of fundament rights.

Unfortunately, the SCBA chief bemoaned. the perception that every matter could be brought before the apex court was created by the Supreme Court itself.

“We have converted the Supreme Court into court number one (court of first instance),” she said.

The judicial policy, she added, should be reviewed to discourage the tendency of bringing every case to the apex court instead of going to the lower courts.

Former law minister Dr Babar Awan was of the view that acts of desperation such as Munir’s were an eye opener. The better part of the last three years was consumed by cases of a political nature, Dr Awan said.

“This incident also reinforces the need for creating a special constitutional court where cases of a political nature could be heard so that proper time and attention could be given to ordinary litigants who are feeling neglected,” Dr Awan suggested.

He said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had agreed to the formation of a constitutional court in the Charter of Democracy, alleging that his party changed its stance during meetings of the parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms.

Syed Hasan Bokhari Ali, a magistrate, told Dawn that Munir was out of danger. Dawn learnt, however, that he was under strict observation at the hospital as he was suffering from 50 per cent burn injuries.

SC CLARIFIES: The Supreme Court, in a clarification, stated it always provided relief to applicants purely on merit and in conformity with rules and regulations. No deviation from the rules is allowed nor condoned on the protest of an individual, it said.

Referring to the case of Asad Munir, the court said the constable was dismissed from service because of unauthorised leave and for showing an irresponsible behaviour unbecoming of a constable.

A report called from the Inspector General of Police also revealed that he abducted his sister in-law from her house. As per police report, he also deceived another woman, Ms Salma Yasin, a teacher, and arranged a secret marriage, but divorced her subsequently.

She also filed a petition of abduction against him in a court. The police report stated that for this “gross misconduct and due to other immoral activities”, an inquiry was conducted in accordance with law and he was dismissed from service.

Asad Munir filed two departmental appeals which were rejected. He approached the Punjab Service Tribunal, but it dismissed his appeal, too.