ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Thursday declared the detention of retired Lt Col advocate Inamur Rahim illegal and ordered military authorities to release him immediately.

Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf of the LHC Rawalpindi bench issued the short order while deciding the petition seeking release of Mr Inam.

The court order stated: “The detention of Mr Inamur Rahim advocate with military authorities is declared illegal and unlawful. He shall be released forthwith.”

On Jan 3, Justice Rauf had admitted the petition filed against the detention of retired Lt Col Inamur Rahim who, according to the defence ministry, had been taken into custody under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) for his alleged violation of the Official Secret Act.

The counsel for the federation informed the court that Section 13 of the PAA empowered the military to investigate retired officers.

However, advocate Ahsanuddin Sheikh, the counsel for Col Rahim’s family, argued that Section 13 could only be invoked in case a complaint against the retired officer had already been lodged. He pointed out that no complaint had ever been lodged against Col Rahim before his arrest for his alleged violation of the PAA.

Retired Brigadier Wasaf Khan Niazi, another counsel in this matter, cited different case laws in response to arguments of Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti.

He said the Pakistan Army Act was clear about the arrest of a retired officer, whereas advocate Rahim had been taken into custody in violation of relevant sections of the PAA.

According to the FIR registered against the alleged kidnapping of the lawyer, Col Rahim had been picked up by unknown people from his residence in Askari 14, which is considered a secure locality in the garrison city.

The FIR states that Col Rahim had been asleep when unidentified individuals trespassed into his residence and forcibly kidnapped him, besides extending threats to family members. Since Dec 17, the whereabouts of Col Rahim were not known, but during the hearing of the petition, the defence ministry admitted that the lawyer was in its custody and being probed for his alleged violation of the Secret Act.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2020