Judge slates police for interfering in Hindu trader’s work

BAHAWALPUR: District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Rashid Qamar observed on Friday that “interference by police officials in legal business or trade of anybody, including the Hindu community, was tantamount to misuse of powers and a case against such officials could be registered with the anti-corruption police by the victim”.

The judge made the observation while hearing a complaint of a Hindu petitioner, Raju Maheshwari.

According to Maheshwari’s petition, he ran a wine company in Karachi with a valid licence issued by the Sindh government. He had obtained a permit from the Excise and Taxation Department of Rawalpindi on Feb 8 to take a consignment from there to Karachi. Under the licence, 1,300 gallons of alcohol had been purchased and loaded from the Murree Brewery factory onto a truck and were supposed to be taken to Karachi.

He said when the truck reached near Musafir Khana police station in Bahawalpur district the same day, Sub-Inspector Mairaj Ahmad, whom he claimed had been tipped-off, took possession of the truck and arrested his three men, including the driver.

Raj contended all three had been behind the bars for three months even though he had presented all relevant documents regarding his business to police officials. He claimed the police did not attach the documents with the case file as he refused to give them bribe.

The judge summoned the station house officer and the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in court. The officers said Bahawalpur bench of the Lahore High Court had on Feb 27 issued orders to the police to settle the case after receiving relevant documents from the petitioner. But even after a lapse of six weeks, the police could not make headway in the case as a result of which the three persons were in jail since then.

The court ordered the DSP to immediately travel to Rawalpindi on Friday to attest the documents and submit his report on April 14.

The court also ordered if the petitioner was proved right, the police officers concerned would not only be booked in criminal cases by the anti-corruption police but a first information report also registered against them for forcibly looting a truck.

DURRANI: Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leader and former senator Muhammad Ali Durrani rejected the government’s proposal to establish another civil secretariat in Multan to facilitate people of Bahawalpur and other parts of south Punjab.

At a function here on Friday, Durrani, who had been a strong advocate of a separate Bahawalpur province and even led a movement for it, said instead of restoration of the province and creation of new province of south Punjab, the proposal to establish a second civil secretariat in Punjab was tantamount to treating the people of this part of the country as “second-class citizens”.

Durrani reminded that the Punjab Assembly had passed two separate unanimous resolutions regarding restoration of Bahawalpur province and creation of south Punjab province. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also called revival of Bahawalpur province its people’s right. The PML-N had also included the demand of the local people for a provincial status in its manifesto before the May 2013 general elections, he added.

He went on to say that due to these claims of the PML-N leadership prior to the last elections, the people of Bahawalpur gave a heavy mandate to the party, which won 12 out of the 15 National Assembly seats from the division. But now, he added, the PML-N was treating its voters as “second-class people” and denied them their right to a province.

He reminded the government it was its moral and constitutional responsibility to restore Bahawalpur province.

The government was actively examining a proposal to set up a second civil secretariat in Multan to cater to the needs of the people from south Punjab.

Source: Dawn