SC grills counsel over FATA regulation plea
13 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Hearing former Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Professor Ibrahim's plea against Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011, the Supreme Court has suggested he should approach the Peshawar High Court if this regulation is misused by the armed forces.
The court also questioned whether the applicant wants army to not launch operation against terrorists. It told the applicant that instead of arguing this matter before the court, he should have raised his voice in the Senate against the regulatory laws for FATA if he had any reservations. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Azmat Saeed heard Rohaifa Bibi's petition regarding imprisonment of Adiala Jail's prisoners in internment centres in Parachinar.
Prof Ibrahim had in 2011 filed a petition challenging the vires of Frontier Constabulary Regulations. "Do you think there is total peace in the country and particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are no miscreants in FATA that need to be controlled by the armed forces?" questioned Justice Chaudhry after reading a paragraph from the petition. Responding to the arguments of Advocate Ghulam Nabbi, who represented the petitioner, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that if the law is revoked according to the petition, miscreants would kill civilians freely.
The petitioner has contended that the federal government had no authority to legislate for FATA if the areas were not covered by the constitution of the country. Referring to the observation of the Peshawar High Court's incumbent chief justice, he stated that hundreds of people were being picked up illegally by state agencies under this law. Towards the end of the hearing, Advocate Tariq Asad asked the chief justice to form a larger bench to decide the petition against 2011 regulations for FATA.
His request was rejected by the chief justice, saying that the three-member bench should be considered as a larger bench. Tariq Asad based his arguments on whether or not the apex court could assert its territorial jurisdiction in tribal areas or not. Citing different court orders from past, he tried to convince the bench that if the fundamental rights such as life and liberty were involved the Supreme Court could assume its jurisdiction. The case has been adjourned until March 20.