ISLAMABAD .: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the federal government’s plea against a Lahore High Court (LHC) interim order allowing Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its affiliated Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) to continue their ‘welfare activities’.
The apex court’s two-judge bench, comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, took up the Interior Ministry’s plea against LHC order. JuD chief Hafiz Saeed had submitted a petition against government sanctions.
While Saeed’s petition was still being heard, the LHC in April passed the interim order allowing the FIF to continue activities until the final judgment. Later, the government approached the apex court against the high court verdict.
Additional Attorney General Tariq Mahmood Khokhar appeared on behalf of the Interior Ministry but the bench dismissed the application in a matter of seconds, saying the matter is still being heard by the LHC. Later, it also transpired that appeal against the interim order was also time barred.
Earlier, the Interior Ministry contended the interim order was creating a hindrance for Pakistan in complying with international and local legal obligations. Some believe that the LHC order will have implications for the country if it remains in the field.
In February, the president promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 with regard to the proscription of terrorist individuals and organisations to include entities listed by the UNSC, in a bid to declare Saeed’s JuD and FIF as proscribed groups.
The ordinance appeared ahead of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) meeting in Paris which later decided to put Pakistan from June this year on the grey list of countries not taking effective measures to curb terror financing.
The ordinance amended Sections 11-B and 11-EE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (XXVII of 1997). Section 11-B set parameters for the proscription of groups, whereas 11-EE describes the grounds for the listing of individuals.
Both sections would now include Sub-Section ‘AA’, according to which organisations and individuals “listed under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1948 (XIV of 1948),” will be included in the First Schedule (for organisations) and Fourth Schedule (for individuals), respectively, on an ex-parte basis.
After the promulgation of the ordinance, all properties of JuD and the FIF were confiscated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Some 148 properties and assets of the outfits were also seized in Punjab. Later, JuD chief and others challenged the presidential ordinance in the high court.
The petition had contended that Pakistan is a sovereign state, but through this ordinance, its sovereignty has been jeopardised. It also claimed that the promulgation of the ordinance and addition of Section 11-EE is not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.
JuD further said any law which is violative of constitutional provisions is liable to be struck down. The petition suggested that under Article 199 of the Constitution, it is competent to strike down any legislation which is beyond the scope of Constitution or ultra vires.
It requested the court that the vires of the ordinance and consequent amendment in section 11 B and 11-EE of ATA may be declared illegal. The Interior Ministry had contended that Pakistan is under obligation to comply with the UNSC decision to declare JuD and the FIF as proscribed groups.