Islamabad  - The Islamabad High Court yesterday directed the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to clear the road in front of its office within one week.

 A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued these directions while hearing petition against encroachments in the federal capital.

 Justice noted in his order, “Muhammad Younas Khan Senior Joint Secretary of Defense Ministry has put appearance instead of Secretary Defense. Official in attendance submits that due to security reasons, road was blocked and included in the premises of ISI Headquarters along with green belt measuring about 40 Kanal.”

 “It is a matter of record that neither a resolution has been passed by the CDA board nor has any formal permission been accorded in this regard. It is a claim of civic agency itself that there is no reason to block a public passage, that too against the sectoral plan. If some security measures are required to be taken, the intelligence agency may take them within its own territorial boundaries and not on the public place belonging to every citizen of Pakistan, in the name of security. Therefore, it is in the interest and prestige of the institution of army that encroachments be removed immediately but not later than one week i.e 29-06-2018 and in case the order is executed by the enforcement directorate of CDA, same may infringe the reputation of the institution and bring bad name to the country,” said the verdict.

 The court in a three-page order dated May 24 had summoned Secretary Ministry of Defense to explain under what authority 40 kanal land is encroached in front of ISI Headquarters in the federal capital when admittedly the area is in illegal possession.

 The CDA was ordered to explain under what authority of law, CDA surrendered its claim over road and land in front of ISI Headquarters, “which clearly is an encroachment.”

 During the proceeding, the official of the Defense Ministry informed that the road was blocked in front of ISI Headquarters from Zero Point to Aabpara Road due to the fear of terrorist activity.

 Justice Shaukat asked that whether they have any written order under that the road was blocked. The Defense Ministry official answered that the road was closed after discussing the matter with the CDA officials.

 He stated it is a matter of great concern that a sensitive institution (Inter-Service Intelligence) raised a structure on 40 kanals of land in front of its Headquarters from Zero Point to Aabpara Road in Islamabad.  Justice Siddiqui said that they have no objection if ISI constructs concrete walls within its boundary. He remarked that the armed forces and the sensitive institutions are also bound to follow the law stressing that the impression should be dispelled that a sensitive agency is above law. The law applies to everyone equally.

 Later, the court deferred hearing in this matter till June 29 for further proceedings.