Driver chasing LHC judge’s car is a drug addict: police

A police inquiry has claimed that the driver of a double cabin car that apparently chased the vehicle of a Lahore High Court (LHC) judge is a drug addict and had no ulterior motives behind his rash behaviour on the night of December 17.

Last week a video went viral on social media, showing a white Toyota Hilux desperately chasing and trying to overtake the official car of LHC judge Shahid Jamil Khan on a highway in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The vehicle of the judge’s police guards could be seen in front of his black Toyota Corolla.

In view of the incident’s sensitivity, an inquiry team led by Rawalpindi senior superintendent of police (SSP) Operations probed into it and recorded statements.

The team in its findings concluded that Khalid Mehmood – the driver of the double cabin, who has been working as a daily wage employee of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) since 2008 – is a drug addict and the vehicle that he was driving on the day of the incident is an official car.

According to the report, Mehmood – a resident of Feteh Jang – received a call from his wife at about 6:19 pm on December 17. He went to Fateh Jang through Srinagar Highway and then he left Fateh Jang Toll Plaza at 7:13pm.

“On his way to the Kashmir Highway, he started following the vehicle of the LHC judge in a rash manner. As the cavalcade of the judge stopped, he sped away,” it noted.

The report said the team could not find during joint as well as separate verifications any evidence that Mehmood was following the judge’s car or that there was a premeditated planning for any criminal or subversive activity behind his “inexplicable” behavior.

It noted that the elite police officials deputed for security of the judge did not respond to the apparent threat as per security standard operating procedures (SOPs) and that due to this the Rawalpindi SSP Operations has suspended them.

It said since the incident took place in the ICT, therefore, a legal action if any is to be taken by the Islamabad police. “It is recommended that police escort vehicles be used for escort duty and not for pilot duty [police security should be following the VIP’s car not leading its way],” the police report said.

In its departmental inquiry – whose report has also been submitted to the LHC Registrar – IESCO found that the driver tried to overtake the judge’s escort in a hurried manner “which was of course negligence rather than overdoing on his part”.

The IESCO committee held that the act of the driver was a serious misconduct in his “personal capacity” and there was no one else involved in the matter. “The driver has been permanently restricted from performing the duties of driver,” said the report.

“The IESCO itself feels sorry for the inconvenience caused to Justice Shahid Jamil Khan; expresses deep regret over the matter and seeks an unconditional apology,” said the report.

A senior official in the LHC, however, said despite these findings, there is a possibility of involvement of a third party and foul play could not be ruled out.

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)