Gunmen open fire at residence of Pak Supreme Court judge
Lahore, Apr 15 (IANS) The residence of a Supreme Court judge who is monitoring the corruption cases against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif came under firing by unknown gunmen today, triggering widespread condemnation in Pakistan.
No casualty or injury was reported in the firing incident at the house of Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan in Model Town Lahore.
According to a statement issued by the Supreme Court, Justice Ahsan’s residence was targeted twice at 4:30am and 9am on Sunday.
Following the incident, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar reached Justice Ahsan’s house and summoned Punjab Inspector General Arif Nawaz Khan.
The Chief Justice is personally monitoring the situation, it said, adding that a forensic team has also reached the scene to collect evidence while ballistic experts are called in to determine the nature of fire.
The police officials are investigating whether it was a targeted attack or aerial firing, it said.
Police said two bullets have been fired – one at the entrance gate and other at kitchen door.
“Elite force commandos have cordoned off the area and investigation is underway,” police spokesman Niyab Haider said, adding that the Rangers have also been deployed at the residence of Justice Ahsan.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto and the Supreme Court Bar Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association condemned the incident.
Pakistan People’s Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari termed the attacks alarming and called for a judicial probe.
Prime Minister Abbasi directed the federal and provincial authorities to bring the culprits to task.
Cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan indirectly blamed Sharif for the incident.
“Strongly condemn the firing at Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan’s house. These Sicilian-mafia-like tactics (referring to Sharif) to pressurise senior judiciary are unacceptable in any democracy. PTI stands firmly behind the Judiciary and rule of law,” he said.
Justice Ahsan was also part of the Supreme Court bench that had disqualified Sharif from the office of the prime minister in the Panama Papers case. It had also called Sharif and company a “Sicilian mafia”.
After the Panama Papers verdict in July last, Justice Ahsan was appointed as a monitoring judge in the three corruption references against Sharif and his children – Hasan, Hussain and Maryam – and his son-in-law Capt (retd.) Mohammad Safdar.
The Sharif family is primarily facing money laundering and amassing huge wealth abroad charges.
An accountability court is Islamabad is likely to announce a verdict in these references in coming weeks.
Dismissing the trial as farce and a conspiracy against him and his family, Sharif said it is likely that he is sentenced to jail in these ‘fake references’ and Adiala Jail Rawalpindi is being cleaned for the purpose.