Detention after acquittal illegal, declares court

SHC directs immediate release of man acquitted in PIDC blast case, but imprisoned for 14 years


Our Correspondent December 22, 2020
Sindh High Court building. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI:

The Sindh High Court declared on Monday the detention of Abdul Hameed Bugti, who was earlier acquitted in the PIDC bombing case, illegal.

Announcing the verdict on the plea challenging Bugti's detention, the court stated that the federal and provincial governments could not prove that Bugti's detention was legal. Bugti was imprisoned for 14 years but the prosecution could not prove him guilty, stated the court, observing that the detention of someone on the basis of an assumption is against basic human rights. The advocate-general requested the court to defer its verdict for 20 days but the high court rejected his request.

The court directed the relevant authorities to release Bugti immediately and directed Bugti to pay Rs2.5 million as surety against his release. In his arguments, the Sindh advocate-general had maintained that Bugti is affiliated with banned outfit Balochistan Liberation Movement (BLA) and has expertise in making bombs. The AG had maintained that Bugti has been detained on the basis of intelligence reports. The defence counsel, on the other hand, had argued that Bugti detention after his acquittal by the trial court was illegal.

Report sought

Separately, the high court issued interim orders over the non-implementation of judicial orders over controversies regarding duties of imported cars and goods, and sought a report from the Revenue Division secretary and the Federal Board of Revenue chairperson within four weeks. Passing interim orders, the court stated that all cases under trial in SHC should be scrutinised and action should be taken immediately against officials using delaying tactics. The court directed the relevant officials to inform the court about the elements involved in hindering judicial orders.

According to the interim orders issued, the reason behind the backlog of cases is negligence of customs officials who are avoiding their work. Why aren't the verdicts of the Customs Appellate Tribunal being implemented, inquired the court. Why is the SHC approached for every single issue and why don't customs officials make decisions themselves when there are customs rules, the court asked. The court issued show cause notices to the Collector of Customs Preventive for failing to fulfill his responsibilities and directed the official to appear before the court at the next hearing in personal capacity and explain why judicial orders have not been implemented.

FIA restrained

Meanwhile, the high court disposed of the plea by Pakistan International Airlines former managing director Nadeem Yousufzai pertaining to harassment by the Federal Investigation Agency in the case regarding purchase of A-310 aircrafts and irregularities in grounding aircrafts. A two-member bench, headed by Justice KK Agha, heard the plea. Yousufzai maintained in the plea that the FIA is investigating the case pertaining to purchase of A-310 aircrafts in 2011 to 2012, but is accusing him of being involved in grounding the aircrafts.

He maintained that he has not been involved in grounding the aircrafts and neither was he involved in the purchase of the aircrafts. The plea moved the court to restrict the FIA from harassing him for investigations. The court directed the FIA to not harass Yousufzai and to follow the law strictly while investigating the case. Directing Yousufzai to cooperate in the investigations, the court disposed of the plea.

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