Home Global Village Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan’s residence fired upon: Punjab Police clueless about assailants...

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan’s residence fired upon: Punjab Police clueless about assailants after 24 hours


News Analysis |

Almost more than twenty-four hours after the firing incident at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Punjab police is still clue less about the assailants or their motives. The residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan located not far from the residence of Chief Minister, Punjab, in the H-Block of Lahore’s Model Town area was targeted twice over the weekend, with short intervals by unknown assailants.

The first attack was carried out at around 10:45 pm on Saturday while the other one took place at 9:10 am on Sunday, with no casualties in both the incidents. Bullets were found lodged in window panes and kitchen wall. However some sources in Punjab Government were found claiming in Sunday evening television talk shows that these could be “stray bullets” – since no sounds were heard.

Though no one has pointed fingers at ruling PML-N for the assault, even then the timing of the assault – with accountability court proceedings nearing an end – has set the tongues wagging that political motives behind the attack could not be ruled out.

Soon after the firing incident, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar – who spends his weekend in Lahore to hear cases of public interest – visited the residence of his fellow judge and summoned the Inspector General Police, Punjab, Arif Nawaz to probe the incidents which have attracted the attention of whole country. Meanwhile, Security personnel, including Rangers, have now been stationed outside the residence of the senior judge.

Read more: “Article 62(1)(f) is difficult to define”, observes CJP

According to reports by security forces, empty bullet casing fired from a 9 mm pistol was found near the main gate of the house last night while another was found near kitchen window in the morning.

On the civilian side, Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the incident. As usual, as part of his post-incident strategy, he ordered immediate arrests of the attackers besides ordering the Punjab police chief to submit a report. However, police is clue less even after the lapse of more than twenty four hours.

Political Suspicions

Many in political circles, legal community and in media look at this firing incident with deep suspicions. Main opposition leader, Imran Khan, Chairman PTI, condemned it as an act of “Sicilian mafia” – term first used by Justice Saeed Azmat, to describe PMLN leaders after a video appeared on social media in which ex-Senator, NehalHashmi was found threatening judges and their children of dire consequences.

Others – lawyers and political analysts – on TV talk shows wondered if the assailants have tried sending a message of intimidation to the superior judiciary. Apparently such suspicions existed inside the staff of Supreme Court; personal secretary to Shehbaz Sharif, CM Punjab, was denied entry in to the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, by the Supreme Court administration.

The first attack was carried out at around 10:45 pm on Saturday while the other one took place at 9:10 am on Sunday, with no casualties in both the incidents. Bullets were found lodged in window panes and kitchen wall.

Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan issued a statement that this was a highly condemnable incident and the administration was trying its best to arrest the attackers and a thorough investigation was underway.

Moreover, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and several other key leaders of PMLN, also denounced the firing incidents and directed the authorities to nab the culprits at the earliest. Almost all opposition leaders joined in the condemnation and demanded immediate arrests of culprits.

Read more: The Al Capone formula?

Political suspicions to the motives of this firing are not without a basis. Justice Ijazul Ahsan was part of the five member bench that heard famous Panama Case against ex-PM Nawaz Sharif – leading to his disqualification in July 2017. Later he was part of the larger bench that heard the 17 petitions against the “Election Act 2017” and as a result, Nawaz Sharif lost his ability to continue as President of PMLN. Justice Ijazul Ahsan is also Supreme Court’s supervisory judge in the NAB Case, of Avon field Apartment and other corruption allegations, against Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan: Profile

Justice Ijazul Ahsan was born in, Murree in 1960, received all his education in Lahore graduating from Forman Christian College, Lahore (now FCCU, FC College Univ.) in 1979. He later joined the Punjab University Law College where he won gold-medal for his academic achievements.

Justice Ijaz joined law practice and completed his apprenticeship in civil and criminal law before proceeding to pursue post-graduate studies at the prestigious Cornell University in New York, USA. He was elevated to the Lahore High Court bench in 2009, was confirmed as a Judge of the LHC in 2011, was appointed Chief Justice Lahore High Court in 2015. In 2016, he was elevated to Supreme Court.

Apparently such suspicions existed inside the staff of Supreme Court; personal secretary to Shehbaz Sharif, CM Punjab, was denied entry in to the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, by the Supreme Court administration.

In its interim order on April 20, Justice IjazUlAhsan was among the three judges who preferred formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe financial dealings of ‘House of Sharif’ before disqualifying Nawaz Sharif as chief executive of the country.

Even after the Panama Case winded up on July 28th, Justice Ijaz remained a central figure as he was appointed as the monitoring judge to keep an eye on the implementation of the Panama gate case verdict and monitor the proceedings regarding the references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the Sharif family members and finance minister, Ishaq Dar.

Read more: Panama Case: should Supreme Court render the final judgement?

The lordship was also part of the three-member bench hearing 17 petitions against the controversial Elections Act 2017.

The bench had ruled that any lawmaker disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution was unfit to serve as head of a political party; fallout was the ouster of Nawaz Sharif as the chief of his own faction, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, (PMLN) following which his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif replaced him.

The recent decision of the said judge against the embattled Sharif family and Jahangir Tareen, ex-Secretary General, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, was regarding the period of disqualification for lawmakers disqualified under article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution.

Justice Ijaz joined law practice and completed his apprenticeship in civil and criminal law before proceeding to pursue post-graduate studies at the prestigious Cornell University in New York, USA.

A five-judge bench ─ headed by Chief Justice SaqibNisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, and Justice Ijazul Ahsan announced that the disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution was for life, unless the law is changed by the parliament, virtually sealing the parliamentary career of Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen.

Read more: Will Judge Muhammad Bashir be re-appointed in Accountability Court-1?

Statistically, Justice Ijazul Ahsan had thus the ‘privilege’ to disqualify Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz founder, for three times – exactly the same terms for which the industrialist ruled the country as a premier.

One of the remarks of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, after the submission of the report by Joint Investigation Team, made headlines, when the judge, in July last year, remarked that the apex court was under no binding obligation to accept the findings of JIT, which had produced a damaging report against the Sharif family.

Though no one has pointed fingers at ruling PML-N for the assault, even then the timing of the assault – with accountability court proceedings nearing an end – has set the tongues wagging that political motives behind the attack could not be ruled out.