In a written order dismissing a petition seeking action against several government officials, including former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. (retd.) Faiz Hameed, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the allegations cannot be left unattended as risk damaging state institutions.
Last week, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa had disposed of an application filed by Moeez Ahmed Khan, the owner of TopCity Housing Society, as “non-maintainable.” In his petition, Khan had alleged that the former spymaster had misused his office and directed “crimes” against the applicant and his family. “On May 12, 2017, my house and office were raided on the orders of General (retd.) Faiz Hamid. During the raid, valuables and records of our private housing society were stolen,” read the petition.
The three-page written order, authored by the CJP, described the allegations as being “of an extremely serious nature.” It said if they were proven true, they would “undermine the reputation of the federal government, the armed forces, the ISI and Pakistan Rangers, therefore, they cannot be left unattended.”
Noting the court had not catered the petition because it had sought to invoke the Supreme Court’s original powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, it stressed that cases filed under Article 184(3) are different from other cases for several reasons. “Firstly, the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution exercises original power, and whenever original power is exercised it must be done cautiously. Secondly, where there exists other forum(s) to attend to the same it is best that they first do so,” it said.
“Thirdly, against the decision of a high court, appeals may come before this court under Article 185 of the Constitution. Fourthly, direct intervention by this court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution may adversely affect the rights of others,” it said, observing that the applicant had contended his complaint would not be entertained by the Ministry of Defense because of Hameed’s position in the armed forces.
“However, the learned Additional Attorney-General for Pakistan (AAG) has assured us that the complaint/grievance will be given due consideration, and we have no reason to doubt this statement made on behalf of the Government of Pakistan,” it said. “Therefore, the apprehension of the applicant is misplaced. Accordingly, if the applicant submits a complaint/grievance to the Ministry of Defense of the Government of Pakistan, it shall be dealt with in accordance with law,” it said.
The petitioner, it said, had access to several remedies, including approaching the Ministry of Defense as the complaint pertains to a period when the respondents were serving officers in the armed forces. The TopCity owner could similarly file a criminal case; a malicious prosecution case; a suit for damages; or all of these, it said. “The learned AAG also stated that if a complaint is addressed to the Ministry of Defense of the Government of Pakistan it will be given due consideration,” it said, adding the applicant was free to avail any other legal remedies as well.