ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Tuesday directed the Inter Services Intelligence to clear road in front of its office within four weeks.

Besides this, a single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also granted exemption to Secretary Ministry of Defence and Director General (DG) Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) from appearing before the court in a petition against encroachment in the federal capital.

Justice Siddiqui directed them to open the road, clear the encroachments and submit the report in this connection before the court.

Previously, the IHC bench had noted in its order: “Request is allowed. On said date i.e 4-7-3018, Secretary Ministry of Defence along with Director General (DG) Inter Services Intelligence shall appear in person.”

In this regard, the Ministry of Defence sought exemption for its Secretary and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence from appearance before the court. The ministry also sought six-week time from the IHC to plan for alternate security arrangements for the ISI’s headquarters.

The application moved by Defence Ministry’s Deputy Director Legal Lt Commander PN Shafiq-Ur-Rehman stating that a direction dated May 23, 2018 was issued to the ministry to explain its actions with regard to enhanced security measures covering the road and land in front of the ISI Headquarters.

It added that the ministry in its report dated June 20, 2018 had explained that due to deteriorating security situation in Pakistan, and loss of precious lives of servicemen from 2008 onwards certain additional security measures were warranted imminently.

The said report had also highlighted the fact in view of the unprecedented scale, all government institutions especially the law enforcement and intelligence agencies were constrained to adopt enhanced security measures.

The applicant in its report, dated 21.06.2018, also drew attention to the fact that these were not idle threats or hypothetical scenarios, wherein the ISI was merely one potential target among many. Rather, several of its establishments and offices have come under attack resulting in loss of life and property.

It further stated that the ministry with other respondent in the case entered into the consultative process and a consensus was developed which maintained a balance between the need for security and ensuring that the general public was not inconvenienced or encumbered in any way. It was as a result of this consensus that the current security arrangement was established on temporary basis.

 “In order to allow an unhindered flow of traffic, alternate roads were constructed from the main roads in front of the ISI Headquarters, specifically connecting the Kashmir Highway and Khayaban-e-Suharwardy,” said the application.

The ministry further submitted that no inconvenience was being caused to the general public rather they have been facilitated by providing an alternative route without any risk to their security and safety.

It further added that the MoD was in process of planning for management of security measures with regard to the ISI Headquarters.

 “The Headquarters building is old and was not constructed keeping in view the current security threats. The road Khayaban-e-Suharwardy is right outside the said building and there is no buffer zone between the two. In case it is opened immediately without taking further necessary security measures, this can have catastrophic effects on the agency,” the application contended.

It added that due to set of old buildings, proximity of main building to the road and other security vulnerabilities, it was not only impossible to shift the current management immediately without having a complete alternative security arrangement in place, but would also be detrimental to the lives of hundreds of employees that work in the building, who are declared targets of many factions of terrorists, supported by foreign hands.

The application, however, stated that the security vulnerabilities shall not be listed in public filing.

The application also requested the IHC to modify its earlier orders dated June 22 and June 29 of 2018 regarding summoning of defence secretary and DG ISI, adding the applicant and potentially the general public will suffer irreparable loss if these orders were not modified.