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ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday challenged the Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s decision in the Supreme Court to appoint an 11-member commission to enquire and investigate the grievances of students belonging to the province of Balochistan regarding “racial profiling” and enforced disappearances.

A single bench of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had issued the directions for the constitution of a commission while hearing a petition seeking the recovery of a missing person, Hafeez Baloch, a student of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

The IHC bench also directed the secretary Ministry of Interior to set up a mechanism to receive complaints from students belonging to the province of Balochistan and to ensure that they do not have any apprehensions while visiting their hometowns in the province.

In the petition, the Ministry of Interior raised different questions of law which included that whether the single bench has not exercised the jurisdiction vested in it and has exercised the jurisdiction not so vested, whether the High Court has not exceeded its territorial jurisdiction by appointing the commission for inquiry and investigation into the grievances of students regarding “lack of security, racial profiling and enforced disappearances” whilst visiting their home towns in Balochistan and whether the impugned order is arbitrary and based upon hypothesis hence not sustainable in the eyes of law?

It further asked whether the question of paramount public importance does not come within the ambit of Article 199 of the Constitution had no jurisdiction to entertain such petition and pass the impugned order hence the same is liable to be set aside and this action of the High Court amounts to the judicial over-reach?

The ministry also said that whether under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act 2017 only the federal government has the authority to constitute a commission of inquiry in accordance with the provisions of the Act ibid where it is expedient to conduct an inquiry?

It continued that whether the 11-member commission appointed by the IHC single bench which includes the members/office bearers of political parties, constitutional bodies, government departments and other organizations politicized the issue and whether the high court has the jurisdiction over the office of the Chairman senate to make it part of a commission to be answerable to the court?

The petition contended, “The impugned order is against the law and facts of the case and is based on misreading and non-reading of the record and also misapplication of the law therefore not sustainable.” It added, “The impugned order is arbitrary in nature based upon hypothesis hence not sustainable in the eyes of law.”

Therefore, the ministry prayed that the petitioner be granted Leave to Appeal against the impugned order in the interest of justice. It also prayed that the impugned order be suspended during the pendency of the case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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