No one is above law: CJP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has remarked “we don’t want clash with institutions, law is very powerful and no one is above law.

He gave these remarks while presiding over a 3-member bench of Supreme Court (SC) during the course of hearing of 11 missing prisoners case here Thursday.

CJP said law does not care for any one while SC has its own constitutional powers which are not subservient to subordinate laws.

Attorney General (AG) appeared before the court and the hearing of the case was adjourned till December, 13 at the request of AG.

The court had sought reply from home secretary Punjab as to why he had issued detention orders of the prisoners. Notices have also been issued to the then commissioner, DCO and CCPO Rawalpindi.

The court expressed concern over the replies submitted by ISI, IB and MI during the hearing of the case and inquired from AG under what laws the intelligence agencies were functioning. Under what rules the stance of not making the spy agencies party was adopted in the report, SC further inquired.

Attorney General replied no institution could be made party under civil laws.

Expressing resentment over it, CJP maintained if SC was subservient to any subordinate law.

“Nothing is coming in media except this matter since the last three days and we had received your reply 2 days before through TV”, Justice Ramday observed.

CJP asked AG to read out order in respect of case of Shahida Zahir ul Salam Abbasi case as to whether some one other than federation could be made party or other wise.
“Article 185 has larger scope than article 184. We will give decision in this matter. Please read the decision and so that media could come to know if the powers for issuing notice rested with SC or not”, CJP said.

“You have developed some misconception. If SP keeps some one under illegal detention then the notice will be issued to SP or federation”, justice Ramday said.

AG replied that notice would be issued to federation. “Then where your objection stands’, justice Ramday asked.

“I have not talked of jurisdiction of the court as this issue has been raised by media”, AG said.

“It is not necessary that every thing is shifted to media. Media has done nothing”, Justice Ramday remarked.

” Under what law the stance of not making intelligence agencies party was adopted. This stance has been adopted by you. We are initiating the proceedings in consonance with law. We give the decision if you say so. We will maintain our prestige by the grace of God. The entire responsibility would then rest with you. The then Superintendent Jail is now sitting in jail”, CJP remarked.

Attorney General said ” I take back my reply with regard to issuance of notices”.

“You should perceive the gravity of the situation. This is question of lives. Where the last prisoners have gone to”, Justice Ramday remarked.

“Several crucial questions have been raised in the replies of intelligence agencies. No one is above law. Not any head of these institutions has signed the replies. If they consider them above law”, CJP observed.

AG requested the court to allow two weeks time more so that a new reply could be submitted.

Advocate Ilyas Siddiqui counsel for 11 missing persons did not appear in the court.

The court while granting the request for allowing two weeks more time adjourned the hearing till December 13.

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