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SC to examine Protection of Pakistan Ordinance as per law

23 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday observed that it would examine the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (Amended) 2014 in the light of law, which the government said was meant to curb terrorism and crimes falling in the scheduled offence and to deal with the missing persons cases.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Suleman Aslam Butt informed the three-member bench of Justice Jawad S Khawaja, Justice Iqbal Hamidur Rahman and JusticeMasheer Alam that the president on Wednesday signed the ordinance, which would be published in the official gazette. The ordinance is designed to fight terrorism and lawlessness in Karachi and other restive parts of the country and deal with the missing persons issues, the court was told.

The court, which resumed the hearing into 35 missing persons case, observed that first of all it would examine the ordinance in the light of law. Remarking on the issue, Justice Khwaja said, "Certain institutions consider themselves to be above the law. Those deviating from the law and Constitution are putting the country into a difficult situation. Law, Constitution and facts will not be changed no matter how much one lets our things go heard or unheard."

About the ordinance, he said, "If the court's orders are not to be complied with, then no legislation will be made no matter whatever you do for it. But the ordinance of one's own choice is promulgated overnight. It is not known as to why so much delay was made in working out such an important ordinance."

Advocate General for Khyber Paktunkhwa (KP) Latif Yousifzai submitted his reply in the compliance with the apex court's order of December 10, 2013 which was rejected by the court. Justice Khwaja took an exception to the failure of provincial government to produce the missing persons before the court, warning that the court could summon the KP chief minister if the missing persons were not recovered. He said the court was serious on the matter of missing persons.

It was a separate issue whether the missing persons were terrorists or not but the court was trying to ensure that they should not be deprived of the rights given to them under the Constitution, Justice Khwaja said.

He observed that the KP government was not serious about the missing persons. "The reply of provincial government is meaningless. People are being picked up and how can this process be allowed? Court can summon the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Thirty-five citizens of the province are missing and provincial government says that missing persons are not in its custody."

He asked why did the KP government deny fundamental rights to the missing persons and were they not citizens of Pakistan?Seeking a comprehensive reply from the KP government, the court adjourned the case till January 27.

End.

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