PAF officer detained on espionage charges, IHC told

Published April 21, 2015
The revelation was made in a written reply submitted to the IHC during the hearing of a petition filed by the spouse of SL Akhtar seeking the release of her husband.  — AFP/file
The revelation was made in a written reply submitted to the IHC during the hearing of a petition filed by the spouse of SL Akhtar seeking the release of her husband. — AFP/file

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Monday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that it had detained Squadron Leader (SL) Hassan Akhtar under espionage charges.

The revelation was made in a written reply submitted to the IHC during the hearing of a petition filed by the spouse of SL Akhtar seeking the release of her husband.

According to the petition filed by Dr Faiza Hassan, the PAF authorities detained her husband in November last year.

The petition contended that on December 19 Air Commodore Asim, the director air intelligence, informed the petitioner that her husband was in their custody and would be released after the completion of a probe.

The petition alleged that the PAF authorities did not arrange a meeting of the detained officer with his family.


Squadron Leader Hassan Akhtar’s spouse says since his detention in Nov last year, family has not been allowed to meet him


Flight Lieutenant Asad of the Judge Advocate General Directorate of PAF informed the court that SL Akhtar had been detained for ‘espionage’ and the matter was still pending with the authorities concerned. He claimed that the officer had been taken into custody in accordance with the due process of law.

Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Husnain Ibrahim Kazmi argued before the court that the petitioner had concealed facts from the court. He said after keeping the officer in detention the PAF authorities had arranged his meeting with his family. He also produced a document related to the meeting signed by the spouse of the under-custody officer.

The DAG claimed that under Article 199 (3) of the Constitution, the high court could not hear the petition.

He also claimed that the PAF authorities had produced the detained officer before the tribunal on a weekly basis since he was taken into custody.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui asked retired Colonel Inamur Rahim advocate, the counsel for Dr Faiza, as to how the court despite the clause of 199 (3) which stopped the high court from entertaining petitions related to armed forces personnel, would take up the matter.

The counsel, however, argued that the high court could entertain petitions related to the personnel of the armed forces to ensure their fair trial.

Under Article 10-A of the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the high court to ensure a fair trial of every citizen within its territorial jurisdiction, he added.

He pointed out that the court after observing mala fide on the part of the PAF authorities could also pass a verdict in the matter and against the detention of the officer.

According to him, the PAF authorities arranged the meeting of the detained officer with his family after his spouse filed the petition with the IHC.

“Under the PAF Act, the officer should be given a charge-sheet 48 hours after the detention but he has not been given any such document so far,” he pointed out.

He said the officer had been in detention for the last six months on vague charges.

He requested the court to declare the detention of SL Akhtar illegal and direct the PAF authorities to release him.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2015

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