Dr Asim Terrorism Charges are Challenged in Sindh High Court
KARACHI: The wife of Ziauddin University chancellor Dr Asim Hussain has gone to court to challenge the terrorism charges filed against him by the Rangers.
Dr Hussain, a former petroleum minister who currently holds the charge of chairperson of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, was arrested by the paramilitary force on August 26. He has been detained under Section 11EEEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Upset with these charges, his wife Dr Zareen Hussain approached the Sindh High Court (SHC), which had disposed of her earlier petition to shift Hussain from Mitha Ram sub-jail to a hospital. In her latest petition filed on Friday, Dr Zareen has cited the interior secretary, the provincial home secretary, the provincial Rangers DG, the Sindh IG and Rangers HQ Abdullah Shah Ghazi sector commander Colonel Amjad Jamil Iqbal as respondents.
“The detention of the detenue under terrorism laws is unlawful, illegal, without jurisdiction, unconstitutional, arbitrary, malafide as the detenue is a patriotic Pakistani and leader in public service,” argued her lawyer Advocate Abid S Zuberi.
He added that the said provision of 11EEEE is unconstitutional in its present form as it is contrary to Article 10 of the Constitution. “No unbridled power can be conferred to deprive a citizen of his fundamental rights guaranteed under the Article 9, 10-A, 14 read with the Article 4 of the Constitution,” he said.
The SHC division bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was informed about the process under which the Rangers are given special powers in Sindh by the interior ministry. “However, it appears that the IG police has no role to play in the matters,” the petitioner stated.
Dr Zareen recalled that, on August 26, her husband reached the office of the Sindh HEC as per routine. Two vehicles and a separate pick-up truck belonging to the Rangers were already parked outside the office. Upon his arrival, the officers escorted Dr Asim inside the office and then forcibly took him to the Rangers HQ without any warrants.
When the paramilitary force produced Dr Asim before anti-terrorism court III on August 27, Dr Zareen claimed she was shocked. The court was informed the Rangers have received ‘credible information’ regarding Dr Asim’s involvement in financing terror and violence activities, misappropriation of funds to enhance and support terrorist and other criminal activities by using his authority.
The lawyer pointed out that Dr Asim is being kept in Mitha Ram sub-jail with malafide intentions to deprive him of his lawful right to defend himself in the court of law. It particular it has become clear that such allegations have been levelled against the petitioner’s husband merely to justify his detention without charge under Section 11EEEE, Zuberi argued.
He pointed out that Article 10(4) of the Constitution restricts the creation of a law providing for preventive detention except to deal with a person acting in a manner that harms the integrity, security or defence of the country.
Zuberi pleaded the court declare Section 11EEEE of the ATA as ‘ultra vires’ to articles 9, 10, 10-A, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19-A, 25 read with the Articles 4 and 8. The court was also requested to declare the detention order and jail warrant issued by the Rangers DG and the sector commander as illegal.
After hearing the arguments, the SHC bench issued notices to the respondents and told the authorities to file their comments by September 15.
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