ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court held on Wednesday that since matters of defence, security of the country and foreign policy did not fall within the judicial domain, interference by the high courts was not warranted.
“Any such interference by the courts would be violative of one of the foundational principles of the constitution which envisages a trichotomy of powers between the legislature, executive and the judiciary,” said Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who was presiding over a two-judge bench that included Justice Amir Hani Muslim.
The court had taken up an appeal filed by Dr Mohammad Abdul Basit of the Wukala Mahaz Barai Tahaffuz Dastoor against an Oct 27, 2009, order of the Lahore High Court that had dismissed a petition against drone attacks.
Sarfraz Ahmed Gorsi, the counsel, sought a directive by the LHC to the federal government to ask the armed forces to defend the country against the external aggression (drone attacks).
The petitioner had sought an authoritative declaration that the US was an enemy state and for taking all measures provided by the country’s law, like expulsion of its diplomatic personnel and seizure of their assets in Pakistan.
It suggested that if the nuclear arsenal was found to be incapable of protecting Pakistan, rather posed a threat to its survival, then the government might be asked either to sell the assets in the international market to the highest bidder or to place them in safe custody of Iran.
The high court dismissed the petition with an observation that such a decision was the responsibility of parliament and the government. The courts could not order launching of a war against any country.
The petitioner filed an intra-court appeal in the LHC which upheld the order of the single bench on Oct 28, 2009, saying it had yet to be seen whether Pakistan had the capability of hitting drones and how far could its missile system target accurately.
While dismissing the appeal, Justice Jillani said a reading of prayers in the petition indicated that the issues raised in it pertained to foreign policy, defence and security of the country.
Such issues, the order said, were neither justiceable nor fell within the judicial domain for interference under Article 199 of the constitution.
The order said the court did not find the concurrent orders of the high court to be exceptional, warranting interference.