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IHC expresses concern over advocate general’s performance

November 14, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday expressed concern over the performance of the advocate general of Islamabad due to his absence in important cases.

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui expressed his concern while hearing a case related to the registration of an FIR against the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) station chief in Pakistan for carrying out drone attacks in North Waziristan.

The judge noticed that Advocate General Mian Abdul Rauf was absent despite repeated directions to ensure his presence in court and said he seemed reluctant to assist the court in the implementation of the order for registering the said FIR.

“The secretary interior is directed to ensure presence of advocate general during next hearing,” Justice Siddiqui finally ordered.

“In case, he (advocate general) would fail to appear, the court would pass an ex-parte order on the basis of arguments presented by the petitioner’s counsel”, the order says.

In June 2015, IHC had directed the inspector general of police (IGP) Islamabad to submit a compliance report after registering an FIR against former CIA station chief Jonathan Banks and legal adviser John A. Rizzo.

The Secretariat police registered the FIR but transferred the case to the Fata Secretariat.

Advocate General Rauf last year appeared before the court and said that the court issued the order for the registration of an FIR despite the fact that it lacks jurisdiction in the matter.

He requested the court to grant time to enable him to assist the court on the jurisdiction.

The matter has remained pending since then as the advocate general never appeared during successive hearings of the case.

The petitioner in this case, Abdul Karim Khan, was seeking the registration of an FIR against CIA’s ex station chief and former legal advisor since he lost his brother and son in a US drone strike in North Waziristan in December 2009.

Karim Khan in his application said the drone attacks were carried out on the directions of the former CIA station chief.

The petitioner’s counsel, Barrister Mirza Shehzad Akbar, contended before the court that contempt proceedings can be initiated against the respondent police officials for defying court orders.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017