When Pakistan’s High Court Rejected Petition Against IAF Pilot Abhinandan

Pakistan’s Islamabad High court received a petition filed against the release of captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. The petition filed by Pakistani Barrister was rejected by the Islam­a­bad High Court (IHC) as it was outside the purview of judicial scrutiny.

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The petition was filed by Barrister Shoaib Razzaq with Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah against the decision taken by the government to release and hand over the IAF officer to India. The petitioner appeared in person before the court and argued that the Indian pilot had violated the sovereignty of Pakistan by entering into its territory and that it was an act of war.

“Parliament was not taken into confidence before making an announcement of his release and the decision has been taken by ignoring the aspirations of the people of Pakistan”, the petitioner added. The petitioner proposed that a court-martial should be conducted against him in Pakistan.

Questioning the petitioner, Justice Minallah said: “on what basis does he assert that parliament was not taken into confidence because the announcement was made by the prime minister on the floor of the house and that too during a joint session of the Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament)”.

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“The joint session of the Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) was held to deliberate upon the current tense situation at the borders. It was during the said joint session of the Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) that the announcement was made by the prime minister affirmed by other members,” the court order noted.

The court also said: “The petitioner’s arguments that the prime minister of Pakistan was not competent or that the Parliament was not taken into confidence is, therefore, misconceived. The patriotism of the members of parliament is beyond doubt and, therefore, apprehensions of the petitioner in this regard are misplaced and not warranted.”

The court held that the prime minister’s decision pertains to the matters of foreign policy of Pakistan and are neither justiciable nor fall within the domain of a high court and said: “the petition is not justiciable under Article 199 of the Constitution and is, therefore, accordingly dismissed in limine”.

“The decisions which are taken by the parliament, particularly during challenging times, are inevitably required to be respected and upheld. Even otherwise, parliament is competent to affirm policies of the government and after such affirmation, they cannot be subjected to judicial review”, said the court order.

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