Pak SC asks govt to explain how lawyer’s detention concerns national security


by Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, Jan 14: The Supreme Court asked the federal government on Monday to explain how the detention of retired lieutenant colonel Inamur Rahim, a lawyer known for pursuing missing persons cases, concerned national security.
“Come on Tuesday to explain how the detention of Col Inam is related to national security,” said
Justice Mushir Alam, who heads a three-judge Supreme Court bench which is hearing an appeal filed by the federal government against a declaration by the Lahore High Court’s
Rawalpindi bench on Jan 9 that the detention of Inam-ul-Rahiem was illegal and unlawful. The bench had taken up a petition filed by Husnain Inam, the son of advocate Inamur Rahim.
The lawyer was picked up by the military authorities from his home in Rawalpindi on Dec 17.
The bench also asked the federal government to produce Col Inam before the Supreme Court on Tuesday (today). The government was asked to furnish a written reply explaining why his continued detention was necessary.
But Qalbe Hassan, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said the lawyers community “knows well the reason behind Mr Inam’s arrest”.
“The lawyer was arrested because he provided a copy of the Army Act to the Supreme Court bench that was hearing a case relating to extension in the army chief’s tenure,” Mr Hassan alleged.
The court also asked the government to produce Col Inam before it, but the AG sought a review of the directive and suggested the matter be heard in chambers instead of an open court.
Justice Alam replied that the court had no objections, but added that the government must come up with some documents to convince it about the necessity for in-camera hearing.
The apex court even made an offer that the documents produced by the government would not be made public, saying that it wanted to ascertain which national security threat required the lawyer’s detention.
The attorney general suggested that the Jam 9 order be suspended, giving an assurance that the detained lawyer would be presented before the court.
The AG presented a report regarding the lawyer’s detention, but Justice Alam observed that the contents had already been published. “Do not try to dramatise things,” Justice Alam observed.
Jointly moved by the ministries of defence and interior, the federal government had pleaded through its appeal before the Supreme Court that the Lahore High Court had ignored the fact that the lawyer was arrested on a charge of espionage under the Official Secrets Act 1923 as well as offences under the Pakistan Army Act 1952.
The release of the detained person at this stage of investigation will amount to hampering the entire process involving heinous charges, the petition contended. (Courtsey Dawn)