Pakistan Supreme Court suspends LHC orders for release of missing persons' advocate

ISLAMABAD (Dawn/ANN) - Attorney general says Inamur Rahim is a spy.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the Lahore High Court's orders for the release of Advocate Inamur Rahim — a retired colonel who was picked up from his home in Rawalpindi on Dec 17, 2019.

On Thursday, the LHC's Rawalpindi bench had declared the detention of Rahim to be illegal and ordered military authorities to release him immediately.

Following this, the federal government on Saturday approached the Supreme Court to challenge the high court verdict.

Ruling on the government appeal, the apex court today suspended the LHC order and asked for the record submitted in the high court. Attorney-General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan then submitted a sealed report in the court.

During the proceedings, Justice Mushir Alam asked the basis on which the case (against Rahim) had been formed, in response to which the attorney general said a lot of material had been found on a laptop.

"There must be some reason for the arrest," Justice Alam contended, adding that as per the law, it is necessary to share the grounds for an arrest so that the nature of the crime can be determined.

"Listen to the case in chambers, I am ready to tell [you] everything," said the attorney general.

According to Attorney General Khan, Rahim had information about nuclear weapons, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and "some people".

"You mean to say that he had information which he shared with the enemy?" asked Justice Mansoor Ali Shah.

"Yes, Colonel Inamur Rahim is a spy," said the attorney general, adding that there is a whole network behind him and many individuals from that ring are wanted.

Justice Alam then inquired about the investigation's progress, in response to which Khan said till the completion of investigations, he was not at liberty to say anything regarding the court martial. Khan said once investigations have been completed, Rahim will have full rights.

'National security'

During yesterday's hearing, Attorney General Khan had requested that in-camera proceedings of the case be conducted inside the judges' chambers as the case related to issues of national security.

Responding to the government's request, the apex court had asked for an explanation on how the detention of the retired lieutenant colonel concerned national security.

"We have no objections but show us the matter on the basis of which we should do this. Show us the documents, we will not make them public," said Justice Mushir Alam. "Come on Tuesday to explain how the detention of Col Inam is related to national security."

Meanwhile, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Qalbe Hassan, while addressing the judges yesterday had said the lawyers community "knows well the reason behind Inam’s arrest".

"The lawyer was arrested because he provided a copy of the Army Act to the Supreme Court bench that was hearing a case relating to extension in the army chief’s tenure," Hassan alleged.

The bench then asked the federal government to produce Rahim before the apex court on Tuesday (today) and furnish a written reply explaining why his continued detention was necessary.

LHC orders Rahim's release

On Thursday, the LHC's Rawalpindi bench had declared the detention of Rahim to be illegal and ordered military authorities to release him immediately.

Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf of the LHC Rawalpindi bench issued the short order while deciding the petition seeking Inam's release.

The court order had stated: "The detention of Mr Inamur Rahim advocate with military authorities is declared illegal and unlawful. He shall be released forthwith."

Rahim – the advocate for missing persons

On Dec 17, 2019, Rahim's son Hasnain Inam said eight to 10 people in black uniforms with a Pakistani flag stitched on their arms forced their way into their house located on Rawalpindi's Adiala Road.

He added that he was overpowered after being pushed away by two people, and one person put his hand over his mouth. "The men then searched every room and forced [my father] into a pick-up truck at gunpoint and drove away," he said.

On Jan 2, the defe­nce ministry informed the LHC that Rahim was in the custody of its subordinate agency and that he was being probed for allegedly violating the Official Secret Act after the court sought a reply on a petition filed by the defence and interior ministries.

However, a representative for the defence ministry did not specify exactly what violations had been committed by the detained lawyer.

Rahim has previously filed numerous petitions for the recovery of missing persons and against administrative orders of the army or armed forces. Moreover, he was the counsel in petitions filed against high-profile court-martial proceedings about the GHQ attack and conviction of naval officers among others.

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