ISLAMABAD: Possibly weary of being hoisted by their own petard, petitioners in the former chief justice’s bulletproof car case have challenged an Islamabad High Court order to produce the vehicle in court.
They have argued that the action would have an impact on the politician’s fundamental rights and security in the “present worst condition of law and order and frequent incidents of terrorism in the country”.
Iftikhar Chaudhry is a former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC had last week ordered the petitioners to produce the vehicle as case property before the court by December 8, the next scheduled hearing in the case.
While taking advantage of the court’s permission allowing them to seek interim relief in the case, petitioners Sheikh Ahsanuddin and Taufiq Asif, through their counsel Mohiuddin Aamir Mughal, have filed an intra-court appeal challenging Justice Siddiqui’s December 2 decision.
The appeal is expected to be heard by a division bench, comprising Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Aamer Farooq, today (December 6).
In the ICA, the appellants argue that the case concerns the fundamental rights and security of the former CJP and that the petitioners have great concern about his life and security.
The lawyer also claimed that the vehicle was never handed over on orders of the high court, rather it was provided to the former CJP on directions of the incumbent prime minister.
Interestingly, the Establishment Division notification for providing the car – on the orders of the PM – came out after Justice Siddiqui’s January 2014 decision directing the government to provide Chaudhry with a car.
One of the more eye-catching arguments made by the petitioners is that the IHC premises do not have adequate arrangements to securely park the armoured vehicle.
The appellants have remained engaged in the legal battle while requesting the high court to provide full security to the former CJP by providing a jammer vehicle along with elite force and a squad of Rangers to accompany the bulletproof car.
How we got here
In January 2014, Justice Siddiqui had ordered that the “former chief justice shall be provided foolproof security along with possession of…a bulletproof car for his and his family’s use without putting embargo of any time specification.”
The Cabinet Division had issued a notification that said the vehicle was being provided to the former CJP for three months. However, Justice Siddiqui held that the ‘time-specific clause was unfeasible, unrealistic and discriminatory’.
Subsequently, the government challenged the decision and filed an ICA for reclaiming the bulletproof car from the former judge-turned politician. The single-member bench had subsequently remanded the case back to Justice Siddiqui to decide it afresh.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2016.