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AACPR has no impact on ground, SC told

The Supreme Court of Pakistan.—File Photo.

ISLAMABAD: A counsel representing Professor Mohammad Ibrahim Khan of the Jamaat-i-Islami alleged before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulations (AACPR), 2011, had no impact on the ground.“Either the AACPR continues to hold the field or is withdrawn completely. It has no impact at all in practical terms,” alleged Advocate Ghulam Nabi, who himself intended to contest election from NA-19 Haripur.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing a challenge against the AACPR under which an internment centre was set up near the Pak-Afghan border at Landi Kotal, Parachinar (Kurram Agency) a tribal area of the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa which allows the civilian administration to confine persons accused of terrorism.

In reply to a report submitted by the ISI and the MI that also included graphic pictures of decapitated victims, the counsel submitted pictures of children who were killed in drone attacks in the KP.

“The case of drone attacks is not with us,” the chief justice observed, adding that no doubt this was cruelty but asked the counsel to assist the court in determining the vires of regulations only.

Not a single provision of the AACPR complies with the constitution, the counsel argued, claiming that the drone missions were carried out from inside Pakistan.

“What the drone attacks have to do with the vires of the AACPR,” Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed wondered, asking the counsel not to treat the Courtroom No 1 as Hyde Park.

The counsel asked for time to submit a proper reply on the report of intelligence agencies, but then he sought permission to withdraw the petition.

The court, however, made it clear that it will not appreciate withdrawal of the petition, but asked the counsel to seek fresh instructions and inform the court in writing whether his client wanted to press the petition or not and also suggest a substitute or alternative if the prayer to declare the law unconstitutional was accepted.

Ghulam Nabi took a different view by stating that he had no objection to calling out the army under Article 245 of the constitution, but said he intended to submit the book, ‘Yeh Khamoshi Kahan Tak’ written by retired Lt Gen Shahid Aziz, as a part of his reply to the report of intelligence agencies.

The court reminded him that there was no dearth of people who enjoyed perks and privileges for being partners in crime, but later sought forgiveness. The court made it clear that it would not accept the book because its author was an insider.

The court ordered the government and the counsel representing intelligence agencies to submit details of charges for which seven surviving Adyala prisoners accused of terrorism would be tried under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), 1901.

These prisoners had recently been handed over to civilian authorities for trial.

Meanwhile, the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, headed by retired Justice Javed Iqbal, submitted a list before another bench of the apex court.

The commission said that it was seized with cases of 633 missing persons. The highest number of such persons — 279 — hail from KP, 148 from Punjab, 100 from Sindh, 48 from Balochistan, 26 from Fata, 20 from the Islamabad Capital Territory, 11 from Azad Kashmir and one from Gilgit-Baltistan. A total of 316 have been traced.