SC to take up officers’ cases on Wednesday
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has decided to take up seven identical petitions alleging illegal detention filed by the families of serving army officers who were arrested by state authorities under the Army Act for reasons that have not been disclosed yet.
Sources in the Supreme Court told Daily Times that the petitions would be taken up collectively on September 8 (Wednesday). A three-member bench consisting of Justice Syed Deedar Hussain Shah, Justice Falak Sher and Justice M Javed Buttar will initiate proceedings in these petitions. The families of six detained army officers and a civilian moved the Supreme Court to challenge the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench’s decision to dismiss their habeas corpus writ petitions for want of jurisdiction.
The petitioners have contended that state authorities violated the Army Act of 1952 and also the Constitution of Pakistan by not presenting the detention order and the charge sheet against the detainees in the High Court. The Federation of Pakistan through the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence and director general of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have been made respondents in the petitions.
Six serving army officers — Colonel Khalid Mahmood Abbasi (GHQ), Lt Col Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Headquarters Army Aviation Command), Major Adil Quddus (GHQ), Major Muhammad Rohail Fraz (Second Corp), Major Attaullah Khan Mahmood (Second Corp) and Capitan Dr Usman Zafar (Mujahid Battalion) — were taken into state custody on different dates during the last 20 months. .
The Judge Advocate General (the Army’s legal attorney) told the High Court that the officers were arrested under the Army Act of 1952 and, as such, this case could not be taken up by a civilian court.
Yasmeen Khalid, wife of Col Khalid, Abida Perveen, wife of Lt Col Abdul Ghaffar, Mumtaz Attaullah, wife of Major Attaullah, Farina Rohail, wife of Major Rohail Fraz, Khadija Adil, wife of Major Adil Quddus and Farzana Tasneem, mother of Captain Dr Usman Zafar, have filed separate petitions seeking the release of the heads of their families.
The seventh petitioner is Saadia Sarwar Bhatti. Her husband, a civilian, has also been detained under the Army Act.