Supreme Court directs govt to explain how lawyer's detention is related to national security

Published January 13, 2020
On Saturday, the federal government had challenged the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench ruling on Inamur Rahim's arrest in the Supreme Court. — AFP/File
On Saturday, the federal government had challenged the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench ruling on Inamur Rahim's arrest in the Supreme Court. — AFP/File

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the federal government to submit a written reply and explain how the case regarding the detention of Advocate Inamur Rahim — a retired colonel who was picked up from his home in Rawalpindi on Dec 17, 2019 — is connected to national security.

Taking up the federal government's petition against the Lahore High Court order for Rahim's release, the apex court asked the government's counsel to explain the national security issue his case relates to, on the basis of which, it should be heard inside the judges' chambers.

Earlier, the court had directed the federal government to present the detained advocate in court following which Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan requested that the court review the order to present Rahim and that the case be heard inside the judges' chambers.

"We have no objections but show us the matter on the basis of which we should do this. Show us the documents, we will not make them public," said Justice Mushir Alam, adding that they wanted to go through the documents to understand which national security issue this case was related to.

At the outset of today's proceedings, the top court had rejected the government's request of in-camera proceedings for the case. AG Khan had argued that the matter in question was related to national security and therefore mandated in-camera proceedings.

Resuming proceedings after a break, the apex court directed the federal government to submit a written reply and ordered that the detained lawyer be presented in court by tomorrow.

"We all know what matter of national security it is. Rahim had presented copies of the Army Act in court," alleged Supreme Court Bar Association President Qalbe Hussain while addressing the judges.

Justice Alam said that the LHC had issued a short order and it seemed that a detailed verdict had not yet been issued, adding that the government should wait for the detailed verdict.

In response, the attorney general asked for the short order to be suspended while the SC heard this petition, vowing to present the detained lawyer in court. Later, the attorney general presented a report regarding Rahim's arrest in a sealed envelope.

"Whatever is written in this report has been published. Don't dramatise things," responded Justice Alam.

The proceedings were adjourned till Tuesday.

Rahim's detention 'illegal'

On Thursday, the LHC's Rawalpindi bench had declared the detention of Rahim to be illegal and ordered military authorities to release him immediately.

Following this, the federal government on Saturday approached the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling.

The defence and interior secretaries in an appeal filed through Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti had sought suspension of the LHC's release order till the present case was decided by the apex court.

Rahim – the advocate for missing persons

On Dec 17, 2019, Rahim's son Hasnain Inam said eight to 10 people in black uniforms with a Pakistani flag stitched on their arms forced their way into their house located on Rawalpindi's Adiala Road.

He added that he was overpowered after being pushed away by two people, and one person put his hand over his mouth. "The men then searched every room and forced [my father] into a pick-up truck at gunpoint and drove away," he said.

On Jan 2, the defe­nce ministry informed the LHC that Rahim was in the custody of its subordinate agency and that he was being probed for allegedly violating the Official Secret Act after the court sought a reply on a petition filed by the defence and interior ministries.

However, a representative for the defence ministry did not specify exactly what violations had been committed by the detained lawyer.

Rahim has previously filed numerous petitions for the recovery of missing persons and against administrative orders of the army or armed forces. Moreover, he was the counsel in petitions filed against high-profile court-martial proceedings about the GHQ attack and conviction of naval officers among others.

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