Supreme Court of Pakistan. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday announced that the petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif and others requesting a judicial inquiry into the memo scandal were maintainable, DawnNews reported.

Moreover, the apex court ordered a judicial commission, based on high court judges, to be formed to further investigate the issue. The commission will be headed by Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Justice Qazi Faiz Isa and will comprise of Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Masheer Alam and Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman.

District and Session Judge Jawad Abbas will act as secretary of the commission.

The Supreme Court also ordered the commission to complete the investigation in four weeks.

“The court has established a commission for the investigation into the memo case. The Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court will lead this commission,” Attorney-General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq told reporters outside the Supreme Court building.

According to the decision, an earlier court order that restricts former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani from leaving Pakistan without permission will also stay intact.

The petitions were filed by former Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, PML-N leader Senator Ishaq Dar, PML-N leader and former governor of Balochistan Abdul Qadir Baloch, Dr. Tariq Asad and Barrister Zafarullah Khan besides others.

Counsel for PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Rashid A Rizvi exercised his right of reply to arguments of Asma Jehangir and presented references of various judgments in favour of maintainability of petitions under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

Petitioner Ishaq Dar appeared before the court in person and adopted arguments of Rashid A Rizvi.

Asma Jehangir had completed her arguments on Thursday and said the petitions were vague and based on hypothesis. She had presented several judgments related to non maintainability of such petitions.

“The petitioner is supposed to tell the court which fundamental rights have been affected,” she argued.

The Federation, President, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General Shuja Pasha, and many others including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were made respondents in the petitions.

Mixed reaction

“This is a black day. This is very disappointing judgment,” said Haqqani's lawyer Asma Jehangir in response to Friday's judgment.

“Today we feel that the military authority is superior to the civilian authority. Today, the struggle for the transition to democracy has been blocked.”

Senator Ishaq Dar, one of the petitioners in the case, welcomed the court's ruling. "We welcome the Supreme Court's ruling...and we would have accepted the order even if it was in opposition," he said.

“I hope that the commission set up by the Supreme Court will complete the inquiry within four weeks. This is not a difficult job,” said Rasheed Rizvi, lawyer for opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

Human Rights Watch said justice must be seen to be done in the investigation.

“In a sense, 'memogate' is a litmus test for all actors -- particularly the judiciary and the army,” it said in a statement. “It remains to be seen whether the rule of law or the law of the jungle prevails in Pakistan.”

 

Opinion

Last call
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Last call

The exchange rate alone can no longer absorb the full impact of the deterioration in the current account.
Appeasing terrorists
Updated 22 Sep 2021

Appeasing terrorists

The policy of appeasement has not worked in the past and it certainly will not work now.

Editorial

Dialogue, at last
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Dialogue, at last

The govt has attempted to make the ECP controversial at a time when its input is critical for the poll reforms
AUKUS controversy
Updated 23 Sep 2021

AUKUS controversy

Instead of flexing its military muscle, the Western bloc needs to engage China at the negotiating table.
Provocative act
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Provocative act

Afghan Taliban flags have been found hoisted at Jamia Hafsa seminary three times since Aug 21.
22 Sep 2021

Interest rate hike

THE State Bank’s decision to raise its key interest rate by 25bps to 7.25pc underpins its acceptance of emerging...
PCB chief’s challenge
Updated 22 Sep 2021

PCB chief’s challenge

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has propelled fears of regional insecurity.
22 Sep 2021

No need for secrecy

THE government should not make a mountain out of the Toshakhana molehill. That would only encourage speculation of...