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Free movement, security both necessary for AQ Khan: LHC

05 November, 2009

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RAWALPINDI: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday observed that the authorities concerned and Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan should come up with a plan – acceptable to both parties – ensuring his free movement and security, as both were necessary.

The two-member bench, consisting of Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh and Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed, observed this while hearing an intra-court appeal by the federal government to restore Dr Khan’s security protocol. Dr Khan had challenged his official protocol, terming it a violation of his fundamental rights. Consequently, the LHC restricted authorities from limiting Dr Khan’s movement. Later, however, the government submitted an intra-court appeal against the courts’ decision and the division bench awarded a stay on earlier court orders.

Restriction on movement: Syed Ali Zafar, Dr AQ Khan’s counsel, argued that under Article 9 and other provisions of the constitution, every citizen’s fundamental rights of liberty and free movement should be guaranteed and the government was not authorised to restrict any individual under the garb of providing security. Acting attorney general Shah Khawar told the court that Dr AQ Khan is a national hero and it was the government’ duty to protect him. He said a security protocol mechanism had been earlier agreed between Dr Khan and the government, under which the government would restrict Dr Khan’s movement as his life was in danger. Zafar said the protocol attached to the appeal was “a forged document”, adding any condition in the protocol would be void if it contravened the nuclear scientist’s fundamental rights. The court adjourned the hearing until November 16.


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