It is nothing more than a political victimization that the information secretary of Pakistan People’s Party, Upper Chitral, has been reportedly detained under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance 1960. It is of utmost importance for the common public to know about this particular ordinance, the rights which have been guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic and the misuse of powers by government servants.
The Constitution of 1973 declares that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty saved in accordance with the law. The possible detention of Mr. Pervez Lal is the sheer violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under articles 2-A, 3, 4,( 9, 14,16, 18, and 19) of the constitution. Article 4 is very clear to announce that liberty is the “inalienable right” of every citizen of Pakistan.
The other day when people were not allowed to meet their chief minister during his visit to Reshun, Pervez Lal had questioned the administration and the government. He had asked the DC Upper Chitral that how he dared to put allegations on the peaceful and affected people of Reshun they have damaged and collapsed the suspension bridge. He criticized the administration and police for beating the poor people just for the sack of the protocol to the chief minister. He asked the people to know and question about their rights.
It is very shocking that the district administration is not even aware of the true essence of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and I wonder whether they understand the language of the said law or not.
Section 3 of the MPO states: “Government, if satisfied that with a view to preventing any person from acting in any manner prejudicial to the public safety or the maintenance of public order, may by an order in writing direct his arrest and detention…”
But this never means to detain any person depriving them of their liberty which the Constitution has guaranted. In Zafar Iqbal Vs D.M.Karachi, the court held that vague and general grounds cannot be made basis of detention under MPO and such detention orders are unlawful. (PLD1990 Kar.). In another case of Mehrajdin etc, PLD 1997 LAH, 146, the court very clearly declared that the criticism of government policies in general and detention of political leaders in particular by public speeches, or press or carrying play cards peacefully not intending to incite the public to violence, does not cover under the sections of MPO ordinance.
In Ehsan Ullah vs the home secretary case, the court held that intention to stage a peaceful demonstration, otherwise permissible is not a justifiable ground for detention. PLD 1975 Lah.1321
It has also been reported that the district administration of Upper Chitral is of the view that Mr. Pervaz Lal has been involved in a number of criminal cases in the past and hence is a threat to public safety. Let me bring it to the knowledge of the district administration that involvement in criminal cases is not a valid ground for preventive detention under section 3 of MPO as thoroughly expressed in the case of Muhammad Yasin vs District Magistrate, Kasur PLJ 1997 Lah, 146.
Justice Qaisar Rasheed Khan and Justice Roohul Amin Khan of Peshawar High Court while deciding a case have given very strict rulings that the DCs should be very careful in the use of section 3 MPO with the following words: ”This is the Last Chance to the DCs to refrain from misusing MPO”.
It is very clear from the facts that the DC Upper Chitral is misusing his power in this particular case and the detention order under section 3 MPO is vague with mala fide intention and has been passed without judicial application of mind. I would suggest Mr. Parvez Lal, if detained, to go for a writ of Habeas Corpus and invoke the writ jurisdiction of the court under article 199 of the Constitution and also ask the court to take strict action against the deputy commissioner Upper Chitral under section 166 and 177 of PPC for disobeying the law as a public servant.
Meanwhile, I would request the DC Upper Chitral to immediately withdraw the detention order of section 3, MPO, and the people of Upper Chitral to demand their guaranteed rights, without any fear, as prescribed for them by law. I would also appeal to the honorable Chief Justice of Peshawar Hight Court to probe into the matter and make it clear that demanding for one’s right is not a crime but an encouraging act by the laws of the land, unless, the people of Upper Chitral will not be able to raise their voice and demands amid this law of the jungle.
(The writer is student of law and shariah (LLB-Hons) at International Islamic University Islamabad).