ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Thursday ordered the interior secretary, Foreign Office and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to sit together and come up with measures to ensure implementation of the court’s earlier order of bringing former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani back to Pakistan.

On June 4, 2013, a nine-judge SC bench headed by then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had directed the then interior secretary to adopt legal measures ensuring the return of Mr Haqqani to Pakistan. The court had also hinted that it might adopt coercive measures in view of his continued refusal to appear before it and honour the commitment he made to come whenever called.

Mr Haqqani was at the centre of a controversy over a memorandum he had allegedly sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking direct US intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the civilian government by the military against the backdrop of May 2, 2011 US raid at the Abbottabad compound to kill Osama bin Laden.

A judicial commission constituted by the Supreme Court had also held Mr Haqqani the originator and architect of the memo on June 12, 2012.

On Thursday, a three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was told that neither Mr Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir nor his advocate-on-record Chaudhry Akhtar Ali had any instructions from him.

Mr Ali presented a fax message suggesting Mr Haqqani is not willing to come.

As a consequence, a review petition filed by Mr Haqqani against the court’s earlier order was dismissed, through the bench summoned the secretaries of foreign affairs and interior and the FIA director general to appear before it and explain the situation.

The court also sought explanation from its office why the matter was fixed before the bench after so many years when it should have been fixed after four weeks in 2013.

Additional Attorney General Mohammad Waqar Rana, however, said that since the matter had been taken up after such a long time, he was not well conversant with the developments or measures taken to bring Mr Haqqani back to the country to face the case. He also pointed out that the former ambassador used to hurl abuses at Pakistan.

The court, however, observed that this was a question about the dignity of Pakistan.

The additional interior secretary informed the court that he could not trace the case record and sought more time to do the needful.

During the proceedings, Barrister Zafarullah of the Watan Party presented a press clipping in which Mr Haqqani was quoted as saying that he would not come to Pakistan.

The bench asked the additional attorney general to look into the matter as Mr Haqqani had made a commitment to appear whenever called by the court.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2018

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