Pakistan SC summons foreign, finance and interior secretaries

The SC of Pakistan summoned federal secretaries of Interior, Foreign and Finance ministries.

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday summoned federal secretaries of Interior, Foreign and Finance ministries on May 20 to explain the the steps taken by them regarding repatriation of Pakistanis jailed abroad.

The three-member bench of the apex court of Justice
Javed Iqbal, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Asif Saeed Khan
Khosa gave the directives while hearing missing persons case
and asked the officials to reply on May 20.

The court also expressed dissatisfaction over a report
submitted by the foreign ministry in the case with an
observation that the report was silent over the steps taken by
the ministry for the release of Pakistani prisoners.

The court in its order observed that finance ministry
has not been approached so far on the issue of repatriation of
Pakistani jailed abroad.

Justice Iqbal during the case observed that after all
Pakistanis jailed overseas are citizens of Pakistan and it is
responsibility of the government to make some serious efforts
for their release.

"If they have committed any offence they should be
provided with legal assistance and if they have already
undergone their sentences they should be brought back," he

Additional Attorney General, KK Agha informed the
bench that due to some financial constraints the government is
facing difficulty in expatriation of Pakistanis jailed abroad.

Justice Parvez on which said that funds should be
provided to these people by the government or by the NGOs.

The bench during the proceedings inquired from the AAG
regarding any prisoner exchange program with Thai government.

The AAG on which said that no such action took place.
He told the bench that about 145 Pakistanis are detained in
Thai jails. Justice Iqbal observed that no action so far has
been taken prior to court`s order as the matter had been
highlighted in newspapers.

He said that situation in Afghanistan is alarming
where 127 Pakistanis are behind the bars and no one is
bothering about them.

He said that it is astonishing that no formal
complaint has been taken up with the Afghanistan authorities,
"at least some efforts should be made to solve the issue."

Agha apprising the bench over the situation of
Pakistanis detained in Malaysia said that 425 Pakistan
prisoners are in Malaysian jails.

Justice Iqbal on which said that some high official
must be responsible for showing laxity in the case.

He further observed that every direction given by the
court is under the law and powers conferred upon it by the
constitutional provisions.

"We are only asking for the legal assistance by the
government for the release of Pakistanis detained abroad," he
said. Additional Attorney General clarifying the government’s
position said that Pakistani missions abroad have been asked
to ascertain legalities "but we are facing financial

The bench observed that apparently it seems that the
finance ministry has not been consulted over the issue.

When Justice Khosa asked about the steps taken by the
interior ministry in the case the AAG said that the ministry
needs time to develop communication with the countries in
which Pakistani are detained.

Justice Khosa expressing displeasure over the role of
interior ministry said that who will be responsible for the
delay in the case.

"Primary duty of the court is to secure fundamental
rights of the citizens," the judge observed.

Justice Iqbal wondered why the court has to remind
officials about their duties. He said that the AAG may not be
able to explain his position as some decisions are taken by
the ministry without informing the law officer.

Justice Khosa observed that real issues have not
been tackled.

"You people are only concerned about the preparation
of reports to be read by the court," he pointed out.

The AAG told the bench that judicial commission has
started functioning to probe missing persons issue.

The bench ordered that the cases of all missing
persons, including of those belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi
Movement (MQM), be sent to the judicial commission.

Amna Masood Janjua, chairperson Defence of Human
Rights expressed satisfaction over the functioning of the
judicial commission. The court later adjourned the earing till
May 20.


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