No illegal act can be justified on the name of national interest: Chief Justice

No illegal act can be justified on the name of national interest: Cheif Justice | PakistanTribeISALAMABAD – The Supreme Court while expressing displeasure over authorities’ failure to produce 11 more undeclared detainees has ordered Attorney General to submit details of cases filed against missing persons across the country, today (Tuesday).

The court observed that the Prime Minister should be informed about the seriousness of the missing persons issue. Court is likely to deliver verdict in case today (Tuesday).

Meanwhile, Chief Justice has said that the judges sitting his right and left will ensure implementation of the case after his retirement. He said no illegal act could be done in the name of national interest. He said UNO has also declared forced disappearances as international crime.

A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Amir Hani Muslim heard the cases regarding recovery of 35 missing persons and law-and-order situation in Balochistan.

The bench had ordered that 11 more missing persons, who were said to be in Afghanistan and Waziristan, be produced before the court on Monday. However, during the hearing, the Defence Ministry did not produce any of them, and presented a report on the status of rest of the detainees.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told the court that two out of five missing persons have been identified and that they would be presented within couple of days.

What’s the legal justification of kidnapping the people. No illegal action should be taken on the basis of national interest,” the CJP observed. He said in his remarks that the issue could be resolved within 24 hours if Prime Minister wanted.

Court allowing the Attorney General Munir A.Malik request to grant more time for legal preparations has again directed the authorities to present remaining missing persons before the court.

The apex court termed the issue of missing persons as crime against humanity, stating that the United Nations have declared the forced disappearances as international crime.

Expressing displeasure over the non production of remaining missing persons, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the court will announce its verdict today at all costs.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice heard the case pertaining to the missing persons on Monday.
The court said forced disappearance was a crime under international and human rights laws.

The CJP said the authorities didn’t comply with the court orders. The attorney general apprised the court that the heirs of two missing persons, who died in custody could be presented before the court during in-camera hearing. The Chief Justice replied that the court cannot hold in-camera sessions on daily basis.

The attorney general said legislation would be done in parliament session on missing persons issue. Justice Jawwad Khawaja replied that the matter would have been resolved within 24 hours if the PM wanted. The bench said they would issue verdict on missing persons today.

The defence ministry submitted its report relating to missing persons in the court but Chief Justice Iftikhar after going through the report said that the court’s order, which was the production of 14 missing persons, had not been fully implemented.

During Monday’s hearing, an interesting exchange of arguments took place between acting defence secretary Maj Gen (retd) Raja Arif Nazir and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Nazir said the armed forces had responded to a request for assistance made by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. Responding to which, the chief justice asked the official to produce a notification to that effect.

Nazir said the army needed directives and not notifications to act upon instructions, upon which the chief justice said that the army may have been called by the provincial government to help maintain peace and had no authority to keep people in unlawful detention.

Chief Justice Iftikhar emphasised that the army would have to clearly explain under what laws people were being kept in unlawful detention.

Meanwhile, during the hearing of the Balochsitan law and order case the IG FC instead of summons did not appear before the court. Former attorney general Irfan Qadir appeared before the court and submitted the medical report of IG FC Major General Ijaz Shahid. During the hearing the bench exchanged hot words with Irfan Qadir.

Chief justice said if IG FC is ill it means he is not leading the force. Chief justice said whosoever is commanding FC should be presented before. Irfan Qadir said written order should be issued for this purpose. Upon this chief justice said that the court will issue written order too. The court has directed interior secretary to ensure presence of acting IG FC today (Tuesday) in court.

Dispelling the impression that the matter would end with his retirement chief justice said 60 hours of his service still remained which would be equal to 60 years. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry also sought complete details pertaining to missing persons from all four provinces.

Attorney General, Munir A Malik argued before the Supreme Court that a verdict should not be given which would hamper detaining suspects during counter terrorism operations.

Responding to the Attorney General’s argument, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that an ordinance was required for keeping people in custody legally.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that there were 715 missing persons according to the record on cases in the four high courts and Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice further remarked that the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, provincial governments and federal government were aware of the issue. He cautioned that his retirement did not mean that the missing persons’ case would be finished. “There are 60 hours till retirement, which are equal to 60 hours.”

The Chief Justice told the Defecne Secretary that he should have implemented the court’s order.

During proceedings, the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure over the failure of the government to present any missing persons.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif assured the apex court that two missing persons would be presented on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that according to the record of various courts the cases of 715 missing people are pending in the courts, adding that the forces disappearance of citizens is against the article 10 of the constitution.

The impression the missing person would be concluded after my retirement is not correct, I have 60 hours and these 60 hours are like 60 years, CJP remarked.

Chief Justice said that the issue of missing can be resolve within 24 hours if Prime minister wanted, adding that issue is in the knowledge of PM but court could not receive the response of the premier.

Chief Justice Chaudhry said that Chief executive of the country should not sleep, the PM, CM, provincial governments and administration is well aware of the situation. We don’t know that situation can become better after issuance of contempt notices to the authorities, CJ added.

Chief Justice remarked that innocent children and women went to Karachi traveling on foot for recovery of their beloved ones, adding that Baloch can not beg for meal but they traveled for their missing persons, CJ added.

Attorney General, Munir A Malik argued before the Supreme Court that a verdict should not be given which would hamper detaining suspects during counter terrorism operations.

Responding to the Attorney General’s argument, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that an ordinance was required for keeping people in custody legally. The court has directed interior secretary to ensure presence of acting IG FC today (Tuesday) in court.

Later the hearing of the case has been adjourned till today (Tuesday). It is expected that court may issue verdict in the case today.

It is worth mentioning here that on Saturday, 11 detainees who were kept at Malakand internment centers, were brought before an in-camera court at the chamber of Justice Hani, and were identified by their relatives.

“Only six persons have been identified,” Attorney General Malik had told reporters after attending over four hours of in-camera proceedings on Saturday. According to sources, seven persons were presented before Justice Muslim.

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