Free Press Journal

Pakistan Supreme Court asks ISI to specify date by which it would remove blockades from road outside its headquarter


Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court today asked the powerful spy agency – the ISI – to specify a date by which it would remove the blockades from the main road in front of its headquarters in the national capital. A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, however, suspended an earlier Islamabad High Court (IHC) order asking the Inter-Services Intelligence to remove barricades within a week.

On June 22, IHC’s Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had directed the ISI to clear the portion of Khayaban-i-Suharwardy in front of its headquarters in a week. The defence secretary today challenged the high court’s directive, arguing that the IHC did not have the authority or jurisdiction to take up suo motu notices and rule on such matters, Dawn reported.

Justice Nisar suspended the IHC decision, saying: “The high court does not have the right to take suo motu notices; we suspend its order.” The chief justice then ordered Deputy Attorney General Nayab Gardezi to ask the ISI why it had erected blockades on Khayaban-i-Suharwardy, a road which is part of Islamabad’s master plan.

“Bring us the master plan and let us know why the road was shut down,” Nisar ordered. “Also tell us when they will remove their blockades,” he asked. “We have given the orders against encroachment on public land all over Pakistan, and the ISI is not exempted from it,” he added. “Call the ISI chief. Why has the road not been opened for public use despite court orders? This road has to be opened because it’s causing trouble for the public,” he asserted.

The deputy attorney general cited security issues as the reason for the ISI’s blockage of the thoroughfare.

“We will open the road but there are security issues,” he said. “We should be given time for the security concerns to be eliminated.” The case was adjourned until Friday. This is the second time the SC has taken notice of the matter.

In March, Justice Nisar had ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to explain why and on whose orders Khayaban-i-Suharwardy had been blocked for the past few years.

“Blocking of main roads in the name of security cannot be allowed,” the chief justice had remarked, adding that everyone is equal before the law.