Pakistani courts do not have the jurisdiction to implead the US government, through their ambassador to Pakistan, as a party in the case against Raymond Davis, said Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Monday.
The CJ was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, requesting the inclusion of the US government as a necessary party in the case against Davis.
Hearing the petition, which also challenged America’s possible move to take up the matter to the International Court of Justice, Chaudhry said America would not accept the writ of Pakistani courts and therefore, there is no point impleading the US.
Whether Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity has to be answered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the chief justice said, adding the petition is premature since the involvement of US government would be determined after the foreign ministry takes a stand on the issue of immunity.
The petitioner submitted that efforts to take Davis’ case to the ICJ would amount to circumventing the jurisdiction of this court and facilitate the release of the accused.
He added that Pakistani courts do not have an embargo on their jurisdiction to look into the matter, even if the accused is granted diplomatic immunity. The petitioner referred to the Act of 1972 whereby the government’s decision to grant diplomatic immunity to the accused has been held conclusive and said this act, and the relevant provision, hit against the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution to its citizens.
The petitioner also maintained it would not hurt the case if the US government’s viewpoint is also taken into consideration before passing a verdict in this case.
Justice Chaudhry, however, termed fears of the petitioner unfounded at this stage and refused to entertain them.
Meanwhile, Imran Haider, brother of one the deceased in Davis’ case Faizan Haider, filed a petition before the LHC, requesting to be made a necessary party in the case regarding Davis’ immunity.
Being the complainant in the murder case against Davis, Haider maintained he must be allowed to contest the immunity of the accused as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2011.
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