Punjab

CJP takes notice of PU professors’ court appearance in handcuffs

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has taken notice of production of former vice-chancellor of Punjab University Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and other professors in handcuffs before an accountability court here on Friday.
The chief justice directed the NAB director general of Lahore and DIG Operations to appear in court today (Saturday) at the Supreme Court Lahore registry. Meanwhile, an accountability court on Friday remanded Dr Mujahid Kamran and five other professors in 10-day custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in illegal appointments case.
The NAB personnel produced Kamran, former registrars Prof Dr Raas Masood and Prof Dr Liaqat Ali and former additional registrars Prof Dr Aurangzaib Alamgir and Prof Dr Kamran Abid handcuffed before the court.
A group of lawyers chanted slogans against the former vice-chancellor on his appearance before the court.
On the other side, lawyers of the arrested professors lodged a strong protest with the court against the NAB for producing their clients handcuffed. They complained that the same NAB produced former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif before the same court without handcuffs.
The lawyers refused to assist the court proceedings unless handcuffs of the arrested teachers were removed.
However, accountability judge Syed Najamul Hassan said the court did not order the NAB to put handcuffs on the accused persons.
Meanwhile, the hearing resumed and NAB Deputy Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua argued that the suspects were involved in making over 500 illegal appointments in the Punjab University. He said the accused persons misused their powers and violated rules in appointing their blue-eyed people.
He asked the court to grant 15-day physical remand of the accused for further investigation into the charges.
The lead counsel from the accused party, Advocate Mansoorur Rehman Afridi, argued that the NAB violated its jurisdiction by arresting the professors. He said Dr Kamran had not made any ghost or illegal appointment in the university. He also claimed that the then governor and chief minister had asked the accused to make appointments.
Speaking in his defence, Dr Kamran told the court that the syndicate had delegated its powers to a committee to make appointments. He said the syndicate also comprised a sitting judge of the Lahore High Court being nominee of the chief justice.
Asked if advertisement was not mandatory to fill contract posts, Mujahid told the court that advertisement was not necessary after the syndicate delegated its powers to the committee.
After hearing both sides, the judge allowed the NAB to have custody of the suspects for 10 days and directed it to produce them again on Oct 22.
PU Academic Staff Association members were also present on the court premises for the support of former VC and other arrested professors. They chanted slogans in favour of the arrested teachers and termed their arrest a shameful act.
They demanded the NAB to also interrogate ex-officio members of the syndicate including a sitting judge, bureaucrat and an MPA if there was any illegality in the appointments.