By Swair Akam —
As the Attorney General appeared to contradict himself, a three member bench of the supreme court hearing the government petition against the Lahore High Court order to set retired colonel Inam-ur-Rahiem free showed remarkable patience and adjourned for two weeks when the AG offered the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would set him free conditionally.
Colonel (R) Inam is known for his valiant legal assistance to families of the missing persons. He was picked in the middle of night from his house in Rawalpindi on December 17 last year.
A three member bench of Justices Mushir Alam, Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the government petition.
The AG told the court the Colonel (R) Inam was not well and had been taken to the hospital many times during his detention. He told the court the senior advocate would be released if he would hand over his passport to the MoD and agrees not to go outside Rawalpindi/Islamabad.
It was the third condition that made him appear to contradict his statement before the bench in the last hearing. The third condition, the AG said, was that he must give up the password for his notebook computer.
In the last hearing the AG had presented the bench a sealed envelope containing the initial inquiry report and said, “he was suspected of being a foreign spy and part of a complex network as sensitive information on Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the ISI and other information from his notebook computer”. No one, however challenged him as the family is eager to have Col. (R) Inam back home and his lawyer assured cooperation in the investigation.
Colonel Inam’s supporting group of lawyers told TLTP his detention was because of “the Angoor Adda case he was pursuing at the LHC Rawalpindi bench”. Then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif handed over a purpose-built border crossing facility at Angoor Ada to Afghan authorities on May 21, 2016. The then Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, tweeted, “With aim to strengthen brotherly relations with Afghanistan besides strategic intent to improve border management, the border-crossing facility was handed over to Afghan authorities at Angoor Ada, a buffering town.”
The Petition he filed charged the unauthorized handing over of the security post act was punishable under Section 24 of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 as delivering any garrison, fortress, airfield, place, post or guard is punishable. According to the petition, the Angoor Adda post is spread over several kilometres where thousands of Pakistanis live. As a result of the handover, the petitioner maintained, those Pakistanis lost their citizenship and had also been made homeless.
The petition did not come up for hearing for almost two years before the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) resumed hearing against the handing over of the Angoor Adda post to Afghanistan. Colonel (R) Rahiem requested proceedings against former COAS and then DG ISPR who is presently Chairman of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority.
“The decision of military authorities of handing over the post to Afghan government caused serious unrest among the whole nation especially the ex-servicemen, therefore, the petitioner being convener of ex-servicemen legal forum called emergent meeting and after deliberations unanimously expressed their grave concerns that under which authority the military leadership delivered the post to Afghan government,”, the petition read. Colonel (R) Rahiem maintained in his petition that only the parliament can decide bilateral matters with other countries while it is the duty of the COAS to defend the territory of Pakistan.
According to press reports, the handing over of the Angoor Ada check post came a week after Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal and former COAS General (R) Raheel Sharif. The petition alleged former COAS General (R) Raheel Sharif consented to hand over Angoor Adda to the Afghan government which is an act of coram non judice. Citing the prime minister, defence secretary and senior military authorities as respondents, the petitioner requested the court to direct the prime minister to initiate proceedings against the officials for transferring the post’s control to the Afghan government.
The hearing was adjourned till next week.
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