ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Wednesday directed to submit the details of the inmates at the seven internment centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A five-member bench of the apex court issued these directions while hearing appeals of the federation and KP against the Peshawar High Court verdict and the constitutional petition of the civil society against the KP Action in Aid (Civil Power) Ordinance, 2019.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that it is written in the law that there would be periodic review of every detainee. He questioned whether the period review of inmates was done? Whether they (inmates) were produced before the inquiry commission, which might have passed order to retain so and so person and release so and so person from the centres and extend the term of so and so detainee.

Justice Khosa said, “We are worried about each and every person, detained in the internment centres.”

He added these people have been behind the bars for such a long time and they should be treated in accordance with the law as Article 4 of Constitution says; “To enjoy the protection of law and to be treated in accordance with law is the inalienable right of every citizen.”

CJP says detainees should be treated in accordance with law

The bench asked Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan to collect the data of every inmate and submit the report on next date of hearing. “It is your responsibility to see the record as you are the chief law officer of the court and have to assist us,” Justice Saeed asked the attorney general.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked what sort of commission has been created and report submitted and whether the law has been complied. He inquired who is ‘enemy alien’? Can Pakistani citizen be declared ‘enemy alien’.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa addressing the attorney general said it was never the case of federation that the people in the internment centres are ‘enemy alien’, but that they are residents of FATA and PATA.

The attorney general responded that these people were crossing the border up and down frequently therefore it was difficult to say who is Pakistani and who is not? Most of these people are holding Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC). Justice Qazi said if a person is ‘enemy alien’ then the authority can deal with them, but it can’t sanctify the internment centres.

The chief justice asked the AGP that you mean to say that under Protection of Pakistan Act 2014 and the proviso of Article 10(7) of Constitution any Pakistani who works for enemy country is ‘enemy alien’. The government then must have list of ‘alien enemy’, he further asked.

Anwar Mansoor contended that persons whose identity as Pakistan could not be ascertained are being kept in the Internment Centers. The chief justice inquired that if any detainee show the CNIC and his name is in the voter list then would the authorities release him. He said it is right that person whose identity is not ascertained have been kept in the Centers, but inmates whose identity established were released after fulfilling the legal requirements.

He said before 25th Amendment the people who were residing in FATA and PATA were deemed as ‘enemy alien’ and the Actions (In Aid of Civil Power) Regulations in 2011 applied to them.

The Chief Justice said that it is impossible to conceive that the constitution makers were not aware of the ‘enemy alien’. The attorney general accepted that the term ‘enemy alien’ is not mentioned in the Constitution and the laws except Protection of Pakistan Act 2014. He, however, pleaded that ‘enemy alien is not citizen of Pakistan or Commonwealth member.

The chief justice questioned India is Commonwealth member then it means it is not alien enemy. However, the attorney general informed that India has been declared enemy country.

During the proceeding, Anwar Mansoor had heated arguments with Justice Qazi Faez, when the judge asked him why the list of books was not provided to the court associate. He said that if they do not have books, which he is referring then how they can better understand the arguments. Annoyed with the AGP behavior, Justice Gulzar asked him that he should argue the case in the manner given in the law. “You have to be very courteous while making submission.” “You are the chief law officer of the court and you here to argue and not to fight.”

Later, the case is deferred for indefinite period in this matter.