A petition challenging the 'Action in aid of civil power' Ordinance promulgated by the governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in August last was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The impugned Ordinance authorizes the armed forces to detain anyone at anytime anywhere in the province without assigning any reason and without producing the accused before a court of law.
The petition filed by former senators Farhatullah Babar and Afrasiab Khattak, former MNA Bushra Gohar and education expert Rubina Saigol through Barrister Khwaja Ahmad Hosain urges the court that the Ordinance be declared as unconstitutional and violative of the fundamental rights of people.
The petition also pleads that the cases of those interned in military's internment centres be transferred to the civilian law enforcement agencies. According to the petition, the federal government should make available to the public any directions issued to the armed forces to act in aid of civil power and the reasons why such directions were issued.
The petition seeks 'urgent' relief as everyone in the province had been subjected to a "parallel and draconian legal system" which authorizes use of force against them and to detain anyone without charge for an undefined duration while denying him/her any judicial remedy.
The petitioners are aggrieved as citizens of Pakistan because the Ordinance provides for detention of anyone even on a visit to the province and "even the petitioners who do not belong to KP are concerned at its impact on their fellow citizens in KP". Three of the petitioners namely Afrasiab Khattak, Bushra Gohar and Farhatullah Babar belong to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2019