ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed warned on Monday that the apex court would not hesitate to summon Prime Minister Imran Khan if Arif Gull, detained at an internment centre in Kohat since 2019, was not produced before it on Tuesday (today).

“Should we seal the courts if Arif Gull cannot be produced,” the CJP asked.

Justice Gulzar headed a three-judge Supreme Court bench that had taken up a habeas corpus petition moved by a relative of Arif Gull seeking information about his whereabouts.

Last week, the Supreme Court had ordered production of the internee on Monday.

But the court accepted a statement by Shumail Butt, the advocate general for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas that it was impossible to produce Arif Gull on Monday due to the distance between Islamabad and Kohat. The Supreme Court put off further hearing with a directive to produce the accused by Tuesday.

The interned person is facing an allegation of attacking the checkpost of a security force at Kandau, near the border with Afghanistan, in 2019 and since then he has been under detention at the Kohat internment centre.

“Would the edifice of the Supreme Court crumble if Arif Gull is produced before the court,” wondered the CJP. “We should lock the court if the person cannot be produced before it.”

Justice Gulzar Ahmed told the advocate general the judiciary had the powers to summon the “entire defence machinery” if Arif Gull was not brought to the court.

The court chided the authorities for not settling the matter of Mr Gull’s nationality since 2019. It is believed that he is an Afghan national.

The advocate general said vocational training as well as counselling of Arif Gull at the internment centre had been completed.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, a member of the bench, said it should be ascertained whether the law under which Arif Gull had been detained was still valid or not since the region formerly known as “federally administered tribal areas” was now a part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2022

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