Violation of Law and Constitution of the Land and International Law

The Nawaz Sharif’s September 10th forced exile was not only the violation of the law of the land and the Constitution but also in breach of international laws and conventions. Even if one ignores the clear ruling of the Supreme Court in the Sharifs case, the forced deportation of the former prime minister was a violation of the 1973 Constitution; an offense under Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002; a slip under Pakistan Penal Code; and in breach of international law/protocol and conventions.

Although there are strong hints from within the government that Washington had directed the Sharifís forced exile drama, apparently both Islamabad and Riyadh trampled not only the local but also international laws and conventions to show greater respect to Nawaz Sharif’s undertaking that he had signed while he was in jail and fearing for his life in the hijacking case in the year 2000.

The constitutional violations include the breach of articles 10, 14, 15, 16 and 25. The Supreme Court had referred to Article 15 of the Constitution while allowing Sharifs’ unhindered return. The Article 15 of the Constitution says: “Freedom of movement, etc. Every citizen shall have the right to remain in, and, subject to any reasonable restriction imposed by law in the public interest, enter and move freely throughout Pakistan and to reside and settle in any part thereof.”

Nawaz Sharif was taken into custody upon his arrival but not given the right to defend. According to a news report, he tried to contact Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan but forced into exile in violation of Article 10(1) of the Constitution, which reads as: “Safeguards as to arrest and detention. (1) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

“The way the twice elected former prime minister of the country was manhandled, pushed and dragged, was the violation of Article 14(1) of the Constitution, which reads as: ìInviolability of dignity of man, etc. (1) The dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable.”

Preventing the PML-N supporters particularly from all over Punjab to come to Islamabad to welcome the return of their exiled leader, the government violated Article 16 of the constitution, which says: “Freedom of assembly Every citizen shall have the right to assemble peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of public order.” Article 25 of the Constitution envisages that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law; however, Nawaz Sharif was dealt discriminately.

The September 10th event was also an offence under sections 339, 340, 359, 362 and 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Section 339 is about wrongful restraint and it is said that as the former Prime Minister was not allowed exit so the government committed this offence. The Section 339 says, “Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person.”

Section 340 of the PPC deals with wrongful confinement. It reads as: “Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits is said wrongfully to confine that person.”

Section 359 of PPC deals with kidnapping offence and is most relevant in case of Nawaz Sharif, who has said that he has been deported without his consent. Section 359 reads as: “Kidnapping from Pakistan. Whoever conveys any person beyond the limits of Pakistan without the consent of that person, or of some person legally authorized to consent on behalf of that person, is said to kidnap that person from Pakistan.”

The September 10 incident also covers under Section 362 of the PPC dealing with Abduction. It says, “Whoever by force compels or by any deceitful means induces, any person to go from any place, is said to abduct that person.”

The Sharif’s case is also an offence under Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance, 2002. Under Section 2 (h) of the Ordinance “Human Trafficking” means obtaining, securing, selling, purchasing, recruiting, detaining, harboring or receiving a person, notwithstanding his implicit or explicit consent, by use of coercion, kidnapping, abduction, or by giving or receiving any payment or benefit, or sharing or receiving a share from such person’s subsequent transportation out of or into Pakistan by any means.

It is said that the extradition of Nawaz Sharif was illegal under international law as international human rights law recognizes that a country may not extradite a person to another country if that personís rights are likely to be violated. Legal experts refer to one Soering v. United Kingdom, 161 Eur Ct HR (ser A) (1989) case as an example. In this case it was held that the UK could not extradite a German suspect to the United States as it was likely that his human rights would be violated.

Experts say that the human trafficking is condemned under international law. Reference may be made in this regard to the United Nations Convention against transnational organized crime, which was adopted in 2000 and more specifically to its protocol to prevent suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. However, the specific definition of “trafficking” under Article 3(a) in the Convention is somewhat different than under the country’s human trafficking Ordinance in that it specifically ties trafficking to “exploitation” whereas the Ordinance criminalizes trafficking so as to obtain “any benefit” and not just for the purposes of exploitative entertainment.

The international convention on civil and political rights is also relevant in this case; however, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have yet to ratify this convention. Article 11 of the Convention says, “No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.” Article 12(1) says, “Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.” Article 12(2) says, “Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.”

Article 12(4) of the Convention says, “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”

Courtesy: The News

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