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No room for transgression: G-B court official summoned for hotel manager’s arrest

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: People are refused hotel rooms all over the world if the facility is fully booked, but such actions can result in the handcuffing and humiliation of general managers of hotels in Gilgit.

Luckily for Serena Hotel Gilgit General Manager Faisal Qayyum, the G-B Supreme Appellate Court took suo motu notice of the Chief Court’s registrar’s action of issuing an arrest warrant in such a case. The official was ordered to explain the reasons for misusing his powers.

G-B Chief Court Registrar Mumtaz Ahmed reportedly issued an arrest warrant for the Serena Hotel general manager after he failed to provide rooms for the former’s guests. Following the registrar’s orders, the police arrested Qayyum and produced him before the registrar in handcuffs. Later in the day, Qayyum approached the Supreme Appellate Court to seek justice for the ordeal he was forced to undergo.

His application was turned into a suo motu notice by Chief Judge Justice Dr Rana Shamim who summoned the registrar to appear with documents before the court on Monday.

In his application to the apex court, the hotel manager narrated his ordeal and said he could not entertain Ahmed’s request as the rooms had already been reserved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a Chinese delegation on an official visit to the region.

“You have reportedly threatened, humiliated and detained Qayyum without any justification or lawful authority,” read a statement issued late on Friday night from the Supreme Appellate Court. “You also used derogatory language when [the] police produced him in handcuffs.”

The statement added such an act was unbecoming of a judicial officer and amounted to the misuse of power conferred on him by the law. In a letter to the registrar, the apex court hinted at withdrawing his judicial powers and initiating legal action against him “for illegal and improper exercise of authority.”

Earlier this week, Justice Dr Rana Shamim asked the government to explain reasons for the failure to repair roads in scenic valleys including Astor. He wanted answers to where the budget was spent during the previous government.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2016.

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