The Punjab government approached the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry on Monday, challenging the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) order for the release of Tehreek-e-Labbiak, Pakistan (TLP) chief Hafiz Saad Rizvi.
The provincial government implored the apex court that the LHC had failed to note the intent and purport behind the introduction of the Section 11EEE [powers to arrest and detain suspected persons] of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
The provincial government said that monitoring and surveillance under section 11EEE was different from the preventive detention and conviction, adding that the LHC bench also failed to appreciate and understand the import of section 11EEE and to realise the true scheme behind this section.
Rizvi was detained by the Lahore police under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) on April 12 for inciting his followers to take the law into their hands on the issue of blasphemous caricatures published in France. Rizvi had demanded expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan.
The provincial government had kept Rizvi in detention to avoid any untoward incidents, uncertainty, law and order situation in the society as the TLP chief had planned countrywide protests, including road blocks, processions and rallies if the French diplomat was not expelled by the government.
On July 2, a review board of the LHC had rejected the Punjab Home Department’s request to extend his detention. The detention was supposed to end on July 10. However, the Lahore deputy commissioner issued a fresh notification under Section 11EEE and detained Rizvi for 90 days.
Read Lahore DC orders TLP chief’s release
On a petition filed by Rizvi’s uncle, the LHC on October 1 declared the detention of Rizvi as illegal. Subsequently, the deputy commissioner issued orders for his release, citing the LHC judgement. The order, however, has yet to be complied with and Rizvi still remains in custody.
In the petition filed in the Supreme Court, the Punjab government said that the LHC judgement was “perfunctory”, because there was no reasoning in the judgment and that the court had substituted its own opinion for that of the executive authority.
“The [LHC] judgment is a classic case of excess of jurisdiction in that the LHC has proceeded to usurp the authority vested in and meant for executive and in doing so, has rendered a judgment open to interference,” the petition said.
“It is a clear case of misdirection in law since the LHC has ruled in a conjectural manner that there was no new material for detention under section 11EEE of the Act ibid and thereby committed errors of fact and law,” it added.
The petition further said that provincial government’s decision to keep Saad Rizvi in detention was not illegal and that the LHC order did not fulfil all requirements of the Constitution. “So, it is prayed that the LHC’s decision to release Saad Rizvi be set aside.”