Controversy over plot to kill high court chief justice in Pakistan

Islamabad, Sep 19 (Calcutta Tube) The controversy surrounding the alleged plot to assassinate chief justice of Lahore High Court Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif has thickened following allegations that the report was deliberately prepared and leaked by Punjab police’s special branch.

In a report carried by The News last week, it was revealed that Justice Sharif was under threat from militants who wanted to kill him. When questioned by media, Interior Minister Rehman Malik expressed ignorance about any such report and ordered a full- scale inquiry.

The matter took a serious turn when Punjab Governor Salman Taseer Saturday accused PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), the ruling party in the province, of conceiving the plan to ‘lay the blame on the federal government’.

‘The report has been leaked by the secretary to the chief minister Tauqeer Shah’, he alleged and demanded a full inquiry to find out the motivation behind such an action.

The inquiry has already been launched separately by the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) on behalf of the central government and the special branch of Punjab police for the provincial government.

The PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) government at the centre and PML-N in Punjab have had a history of tense relationship over the last couple of years and have been trading accusations of failing to control law and order.

A former additional IG Police Ehsan-ul-Haq is emerging as the central character in this controversy who prepared the report.

‘Ehsan has done it on purpose on the backing of the CM and will now be made the scapegoat after the real purpose has been known,’ Taseer stressed. ‘I am writing to the Chief Justice Supreme Court to take notice of the serious matter,’ he informed.

Media reports said that Ehsan-ul-Haq submitted a written statement before the FIA inquiry that he had nothing to do with this report.

‘Punjab police high ups though are putting pressure on him to accept responsibility for leaking the report, in order to bail out the under-attack provincial government,’ Dunya TV claimed.

Punjab Home Minister Rana Sanullah, on the other hand, has rubbished the allegations of the governor. ‘He has gone a bit too far in trying to malign PML-N,’ he said, adding that the controversy will only destabilize the democratic environment in the province.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry chaired a meeting of all judges Saturday to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the reports regarding Justice Sharif. ‘We demand the government to enhance security for the judges and their families in wake of this situation,’ participants of the meeting argued.

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