ISLAMABAD      -         Supreme Court of Pakistan Friday deferred hearing in a petition of defense ministry challenging the release of Advocate Colonel (retired) Inamul Rahiem till February 18.

While hearing the petition against Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict dated January 9, 2020, a three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam adjourned the hearing till February 18 following request of additional attorney general for Pakistan.

Earlier, additional attorney general of Pakistan requested the court to defer hearing of the case till next week as Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan is out of country. Accepting his plea, the court adjourned the hearing till February 18 for further proceedings.

The retired colonel was picked up by a security agency from his home in Rawalpindi on December 17, 2019.

It was January 9 when Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf of the LHC Rawalpindi bench had declared the detention of Col (retired) Inam, illegal and ordered his immediate release. “The detention of Inam-ur-Rahiem, advocate, with the army authorities is illegal and unlawful. He shall be released forthwith,” said the order. The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on January 10 rejected an intra-court appeal filed by the defense ministry against the single judge bench order.

Col Inam’s son (respondent) had filed a writ petition of habeas corpus before the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench, challenging the forced disappearance of his father. The ministry of defense in its report/comments filed before the LHC disclosed that the father of the respondent was apprehended by military authorities under section 2(1) (d) read with section 59 and 73 of Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and Official Secrets Act, 1923 and the investigation is under process.

The petition said that the high court has erred to interpret the laws and procedure of special laws. The LHC has overlooked the legal position that in a case of habeas corpus, when the detenue has been declared in lawful custody of military authorizes as apprehended under Pakistan Army Act Section 2(1)(d) read with Official Secret Act 1923 then such petition became infructuous.

It added that the single bench of LHC, Rawalpindi Bench, has decided the case in a hasty manner without observing the legal provisions and laid down procedure of arrest, detention and investigation under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, Pakistan Army Act Rules 1954 and Official Secrets Act 1923 in its true perspective and spirit.

It continued that the high court has also overlooked that any person including a retired army officer, if commit any offence, which is an offence under Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secrets Act 1923 in relation to the affairs of armed forces, the person would be subject to the Pakistan Army Act and can be arrested/detained for investigation, collection of evidence and trial if recommended in the matter.