ISLAMABAD: A lawyer has approached the Supreme Court, seeking to share details with the court of people detained for security reasons for several years.
The last time when 20 to 25 such prisoners were produced before the court was on July 25 whose period of detention was further extended for another three months.
Advocate Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta, who has filed this petition, was present at the Supreme Court when such prisoners were brought before it in chains.
After every three months, a number of persons detained under the Security of Pakistan Act, 1952, or Foreign Act or any other prevention laws are produced before a three-judge Supreme Court Federal Review Board by the authorities concerned for seeking a further of three-month extension of their detention under Article 10(4) of the Constitution by explaining before the court sufficient cause for such detention.
A 65-year-old Bangladeshi lady and a person who apparently looked mentally deranged were also part of the contingent, which was produced before the apex court.
Subsequently the lawyer instituted the petition highlighting the ordeal of the prisoners by narrating how at the entrance of the Supreme Court the prisoners started wailing, screaming and complaining that they were under detention for quite some time. One of the Bangladeshi prisoners claimed that he was under detention for more than five years and according to him his detention period was being extended without any legal justification after every three months.
It was painful to watch a sick woman aged 60 to 65 years in the group of prisoners who were produced before the apex court on July 25, the petition contended, adding that the purpose of moving the petition was to seek release of prisoners who were confined just for nothing but under preventive custody and were in jails for well over a year.
The petitioner recalled how 13 years ago, he had filed a similar petition before the apex court on Feb 2006 concerning the confinement of Mr Ahmed, who was then picked up by a security agency from Narowal in 2004-05. The individual, however, was released subsequently before the hearing of the case by the apex court.
The petitioner regretted that in the Pakistani criminal system, the laws providing protection to the people, regretfully, were ineffective rather paralysed since persons who were arrested under any law remained under detention for an indefinite period and nobody cared for them unless their arrest was challenged before the courts.
Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019