ISLAMABAD  -   Supreme Court on Monday accepted unconditional apology tendered by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmakers Malik Karamat Khokhar and Malik Nadeem Abbas for their attempt to influence police from arresting alleged land grabber Mansha Khokhar, known as Mansha Bomb.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, however, said that he will look into malafide intention, if any, in transfer of police officials by Punjab chief minister in order to protect the land grabbers. The top court further observed that it intended to refer the matter of the lawmakers to Prime Minister Imran Khan to forward the same to disciplinary committee of the PTI.

The SC also directed placing name of Mansha and his sons on Exit Control List (ECL). Punjab police was directed to arrest Mansha and produce him before the court. Police is also directed to submit a list of Mansha’s unauthorised properties. The top court also directed police to take action against other land grabbers as well. 

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan took up an application of overseas Pakistani Mahmood Ashraf seeking the court’s interference in police’s reluctance to take action against Mansha, who has allegedly grabbed the applicant’s property.

When the hearing commenced, the chief justice asked the police whether Mansha had been arrested. Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Shehzad Akbar informed the court that his team had conducted raids and also sought assistance from intelligence agencies but Mansha could not be captured and was still at large. He, however, said that his team was continuously making efforts to arrest the alleged land grabber.

Khokhar, who was on court’s call, appeared and tendered unconditional apology assuring that he would never make any such attempt in future.

The chief justice admonished Member of National Assembly (MNA) Khokhar on his misleading statements before the court during the previous as well as the instant hearing.

In a previous hearing on Sunday at top court’s Lahore Registry, Khokhar had denied any phone call to police allegedly influencing them for release of Mansha’s son. However, MNA Khokhar conceded during the instant hearing that he had made phone call to police. Khokhar said that he phoned to tell the police to look into the matter on merit and release Mansha’s son if there was no ground and justification for registering an FIR.

“You are public representative and we have respect for you but property of overseas Pakistani has been taken over,” the CJ told Khokhar, regretting that patriotic overseas Pakistanis honoured the country but their properties were being grabbed and the legislators were approaching to protect the grabbers.

The chief justice then summoned Malik Nadeem Abbas, a member of Punjab Assembly, who responded that he misunderstood the top court’s earlier order and appeared. He also tendered unconditional apology. 

The bench directed both the lawmakers to submit a written apology for trying to influence the police in their investigation cautioning them that the court would not accept further apology if the same conduct was adopted in future.

Regarding Mansha, the DIG further argued before the bench that Khokhar could assist in arrest of Mansha, adding that Khokhar was close relative of Mansha. He further contended that this gang had become scourge for society.

He informed the court that the same mafia was patronised by previous Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government, which had taken shelter of the PTI after the set-up was changed.

The chief justice remarked that it had come to their knowledge that these people immediately obtained stay orders, adding that this court was summoning record of their pending cases.

The chief justice further remarked that this court was expecting from police to arrest Mansha. However, the DIG responded that police feared no one and was trying their best to apprehend him.

The chief justice directed Khokhar to assist police for Mansha’s appearance before the court. He further termed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s statement, regarding land grabbers, as positive step.

“Though they (PTI government) follow us on whatever step we initiate but it was positive step by Punjab chief minister that the government will not spare land grabbers,” the chief justice remarked.

The DIG sought protection of the SC, saying that there were chances of posting and transfers of his personnel as his team was doing extensive exercise to capture land grabbers.

The chief justice remarked that the matter regarding posting and transfer come under the chief minister. “If we noticed any malafide intention in postings and transfers by chief minister to protect the mafia then we will look into the matter,” the chief justice said.

The case was adjourned for indefinite time.

After July 25 general election, PTI’s MPA Malik Nadeem Abbas along with his supporters were seen thrashing Hanjarwal Station House Officer (SHO) and his driver. The chief justice while taking cognisance of the manhandling and aerial firing by the MPA and his workers on celebration of PTI’s victory had ordered for arrest of the lawmaker. However, the MPA and his 7 supporters were granted bail by anti-terrorism court against surety bond of Rs50,000 each.