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PHC Declares ‘Action In Aid Of Civil Power Ordinance’ A Violation Of Fundamental Rights

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The Peshawar High Court has ruled that the recently-promulgated Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance, 2019, is a violation of fundamental rights. The court has asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home secretary to notify all internment centres in the province as sub-jails within 24 hours.

The bench which gave the ruling, headed by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mussarat Hilali, also ordered that the lists of the people kept in these internment centres be produced before the court within seven days.

The court also ruled that it was the job of the Federation to pass such ordinances and the governor had no authority to do so.

Moreover, the PHC has ordered the home secretary of the province to declare all internment centres of the province as sub-jails within 24 hours. The court has also asked the inspector general (prisons) to take control of the sub-jails within the next three days.

The IG has also been directed to release internees detained without being charged in a case and produce before the court those charged.

The PHC also warned that if the home secretary and IG failed to comply with the orders, they would be held responsible.

Family members of these internees had also asked to visit them but had been unable to do so. The court ordered the petitioners to contact the home secretary and IG (prisons) in order to be allowed to see the detainees.

The court also noted that in these internment centres, detainees went for years without any access to lawyers and could not even see their families.

The court also ruled that such ordinances were a violation of human rights enshrined within the constitution and under no condition could citizens be put at the mercy of armed forces for long periods in case of preventive detention.


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