In an important development, the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the Federal Government to immediately do the needful for a one-to-one meeting between Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and his lawyer Taufiq Asif at Qadeer’s house. It further warned that no third person would be allowed to attend the said meeting.
Dr. Khan had filed an appeal in the apex court pleading for his fundamental rights that also included his free movement. On Wednesday Dr. Qadeer was brought to the building of the SC but was not presented before the court. His lawyer told the court that he could not discuss anything with his client in the presence of intelligence officers that had been deployed with Dr. Khan. He had therefore requested the court to order for a separate meeting with Mr. Qadeer . He also urged the court to hear his client in person so as to better understand the circumstances. AG Kahlid Javed Khan assured the court that the said meeting would be arranged as soon as possible.
The attorney general told the court to arrange the meeting at the earliest
On September 25, 2019 the Lahore High Court had rejected Dr. Qadeer’s plea for free movement by saying that it lacked jurisdiction in connection with the special security measures that the state had taken for his safety and security. Dr. Khan therefore had filed a petition in the apex court against the LHC verdict pleading that he should not be deprived of his fundamental rights that included freedom of movement and freedom of speech. Dr. Qadeer also filed an application on Wednesday (Yesterday) to let him present his opinion in person before the apex court in the interest of justice.
It also stated that although he was brought to the premises of the court for meeting with his advocates that the court had directed earlier, some officials of the intelligence agencies did not allow him for an exclusive meeting with his counsel and kept insisting on conducting the said meeting in their presence.
“It is not safe to keep an 84 years old man with different health issues in constant detainment”, petition stated
The application also expressed that the petitioner knocked at the doors of the apex court to enforce the constitutional provision and appealed that the said matter should not be referred back to the high court as there would be no scope of justice in that case. The pioneer of the nuclear programme, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan said that the intelligence agencies had resided themselves in the house next to his door and nobody was allowed to see him at his own house. Moreover he had to seek prior approval to attend any social or academic gathering and this was nothing else than keeping him in virtual detainment.
In January 2004, Dr. Khan was put under house arrest in the name of security and even his near and dear ones (daughter and her children) were not allowed to meet him. In 2008 the government changed and the restraints were relaxed a bit and he went to the high court to share his grievance about his illegal confinement. Now in the petition before the apex court, it is also argued that the petitioner is 84 years old and has been suffering from various diseases therefore it is not safe for him to be kept under constant restrictions.