ISLAMABAD: The apex court on Wednesday ordered the federal government to submit its reply to an affidavit submitted by Col (retd) Inamur Rahiem, Rawalpindi Bar Association’s office-bearer who was booked earlier this year on charges of espionage.
Rahiem was picked up by state agencies from his residence in Rawalpindi on December 17, 2019.
The government had later told the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench that the lawyer was “formally arrested” under the Official Secrets Act, 1923. It had alleged the lawyer was providing information about Pakistan’s top spy agency and its nuclear programme to enemies.
The LHC had, however, directed the government to release the lawyer. The court had also rejected an Intra Court Appeal (ICA) filed by the Ministry of Defence. Later, the government had approached the Supreme Court against the LHC order.
On January 14, former attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan told a three-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam that Rahiem was part of a spy network and a number of individuals belonging to that ring were still wanted.
However, in a sudden change of heart, the AGP on January 22 told the bench that the government had decided to release Raheim on medical grounds, as the advocate was not in good health and had to be admitted to hospital continually.
In view of the AGP’s fresh statement, the court had ordered that the accused be released after depositing his passport with the SC’s Additional Registrar “and with further condition that he will associate and continue to cooperate in the inquiry and investigation”.
On Tuesday, Rahiem submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court, stating that the authorities can arrest a civilian under the Official Secret Act 1923 only if he is within the vicinity of a prohibited place.
And when a division bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam on Wednesday resumed hearing of the case, the AGP Khalid Javed Khan said the government needed more time to submit reply to the affidavit. The court ordered the AGP to submit the reply in 2 weeks as it adjourned hearing of the case till after Eid.
Rahiem is also known as an anti-military lawyer. He had challenged extension in job tenure of former army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. He had also approached the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
The Pakistan Bar Council in its resolution on January 16 expressed its grave concerns about “forced disappearance and unconstitutional detention” of Rahiem and called for his forthwith release with a demand to take stern legal action against the delinquents.