SC ramps up pressure on defence bosses.

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LAHORE: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Tuesday ordered the defence minister and the defence secretary to present 35 undeclared missing persons on Nov 28 (Thursday) or appear in person before the court. Interestingly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself holds the portfolio of defence ministry.
Justice Chaudhry passed this order after the defence authorities failed to present the alleged missing persons on Tuesday and asked for more time from the three-judge bench, headed by the chief justice.
The bench was hearing a case for the recovery of a missing person, Yasin Shah, at the Supreme Court, Lahore Registry.
As the proceedings started, Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar told the bench that the defence secretary had been advised medical rest. He sought more time for the defence authorities to present the missing persons.
The bench was also told that the acting charge had not been given to anyone in the absence of the secretary. The judges noted that no document about medical leave of the secretary had been submitted to the court. They directed the additional secretary to produce the secretary’s leave sanction order.
The superintendent of the internment centre also produced the list of 35 undeclared internees who had been picked up by the army.
Justice Chaudhry observed that ample evidence was available to establish that the 35 persons were in the army’s custody. “The army authorities are bound to present them before the court of law because they have no authority to keep them in their custody unlawfully,” he said, adding that these persons were not ‘missing’ as their custody had been identified. The bench deferred the hearing till 1pm and directed the additional attorney general to take up the matter with the defence ministry and ensure production of the internees from the custody of the army.
During the hearing in the second half, Additional Defence Secretary Nazir said that the acting charge of the secretary had been entrusted to him. However, he pleaded for more time for presenting of the internees.
Justice Chaudhry turned down the request and ordered the additional secretary to present the internees. “We are sitting here, go and present the persons by this evening,” he said, adding that the army was tarnishing its image by keeping people in undeclared internment centres. The bench sat again at 4pm and held the proceedings with the additional attorney general and the additional defence secretary in attendance. The bench rose, directing the defence minister and defence secretary to produce the internees on Nov 28 or appear in persons. The next hearing will be held at the Supreme Court, Karachi Registry.

link: http://tribune.com.pk/story/637581/sc-ramps-up-pressure-on-defence-bosses/

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