Thursday, February 2, 2023

Court only looking into legality of internment centres: CJP Khosa

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday resumed hearing of the appeals of the federal and provincial governments against Peshawar High Court (PHC) verdict on the internment centres, ARY News reported.

Attorney General Anwar Mansoor asked the bench to display a video recording about why the detention centres were established during the hearing by five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

“Do you want to show us how dangerous the detainees are,” the chief justice questioned. The court only looking into the legal status of the internment centres, the justice said.

“It is the video of a detention centre. After the 21st Amendment no legislation made over the subject,” the AG responded. “The Parliament passed the 21st Amendment in a hurry,” the attorney general claimed.

“The terrorists, outlawed groups and non-state actors remained present in FATA and PATA,” the AG argued. “Internment centres were also present along with the outlawed groups,” Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked.

“If anyone challenged the legal status of the detention centres since year 2008,” Justice Gulzar asked. “It is the first case of the legality of detention centres,” the AG replied.

A new law is being made over the internment centres and related legal issues, which will come into force within three to four months, the attorney general said.

“Do you want the court to suspend the constitution for four months,” chief justice asked the AG. “I am only pleading for time for enforcement of the new law,” attorney general replied.

On a question of the bench AG said that presently the 2011 Act was in force in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “It is a federal law enacted by the president,” Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said.

The law was enacted by the president in erstwhile FATA and when the FATA not exists, how the law is being enforced in the area, Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked.

Attorney General said that the FATA laws have now become provincial laws, a new law being drafted to cover all these matters, he said.

“Now there is the matter of civil liberties on one side and survival of the state on the other,’ Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said.

“A law must seek solution of both matters,” the chief justice further said.

The bench later adjourned further hearing of the case till Tuesday (tomorrow).

The PHC in its judgment had declared the Action (in Aid of Civil Powers) Ordinance 2019, KP continuation of laws in erstwhile Pata Act 2018, KP continuation of laws in erstwhile Fata Act 2019 and Actions (In Aid of Civil Powers) regulation, 2011 as ultra vires of the Constitution.

The court also held that Ordinance V of 2019 is of no lawful authority in view of which secretary home KPK Civil Secretariat Peshawar was directed to notify all the interment centers as sub-jails in accordance with law within 24 hours, from the receipt of the judgment and IG prisons KPK was directed to take control of all such jails so declared, within next three days.

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