Asks if superior courts can decide applications lined with Protection of Pakistan Act
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday appointed the attorney general of Pakistan as amicus curiae or friend of the court to help its division bench determine whether it could grant bail to suspects detained under the Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA).
PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Irshad Qaiser asked the AGP for his assistance. The bench was hearing the bail applications of Waqif Khan, Zakir, Khairullah, Saleem and Noor Amin.
When the hearing commenced, Arshad Ali, the attorney representing the applicants, said his clients were in detention for the last one year. He added their cases were being heard by an anti-terrorism court in Mardan.
He added the three men were charged with attacking a police post in Swabi district in which there were no casualties or damage. “Initially, it was stated unidentified people attacked the post, but my clients were nominated in the FIR,” he said.
Citing earlier judgments in a case of the same nature, he informed the court that PHC had released two suspects on bail. He argued his clients were in Mardan jail and therefore should be released on bail.
Additional Advocate General Syed Qaiser Ali Shah argued as per a Supreme Court judgment on the 21st Amendment, higher courts do not have the jurisdiction to grant bail to suspects detained under PPA. Arshad replied under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan, higher courts have the authority to grant bail and there were several judgments in such cases.
Additional Attorney General Syed Attiq Shah, who was also present in court, urged the bench to grant some time to file the government’s reply.
The court issued a notice to also seek his assistance in the same case and appointed the AGP as amicus curiae.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.