Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s revered nuclear scientist, on Monday, filed a petition in the Supreme Court, demanding his fundamental rights as a citizen of the country. He appealed to the apex court to allow him permission to freely travel across Pakistan.
Dr. Qadeer Khan filed the appeal in the Supreme Court against the September 25 judgment of the Lahore High Court (LHC), which had rejected his petition on grounds that it lacked basis in light of the additional security measures taken by the state to ensure his protection.
Dr. AQ Khan demands Fundamental Rights
The petition, filed by Dr. Khan’s counsel Advocate Zubair Afzal Rana, pleaded that his fundamental rights, including the freedom of movement, cannot be denied merely on the displeasure of anyone and under the pretense of security measures.
The petitioner demanded, as cited by media, “Can the government authorities be allowed to violate constitutional safeguards while restraining the petitioner from meeting his near and dear ones, servants, family members, friends, journalists, teaching staff of different colleges, universities, high officials and bureaucrats?”
The nuclear scientist explained that this situation was triggered in January 2005, when he had been first placed under house arrest under the garb of security measures
The petition questioned the justification of the LHC’s advice to the petitioner to approach the Islamabad High Court in order to seek relief for his grievances. Dr. Khan said that he was an instrumental figure in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear program, and with the unwavering dedication of the people leading the effort had aided him in his struggle of making Pakistan a nuclear power.
Dr. Khan said that he was immensely proud to have played a part in securing Pakistan from its hostile neighbors and enemies. He said, that ever since he returned to the country and began working on the nuclear project, he enjoys personal security benefits that complement the sensitivity of his station.
However, the petitioner argued that now the situation had taken a toll as the personnel of security agencies had installed themselves in a house next door to ensure that no one can reach him.
Restrictions on Movement
The petition added that Dr. Qadeer Khan is unable to move around freely, attend social gatherings or academic functions across the country without gaining approval from the relevant security authorities. It argued that the situation has heightened to an extent where the petitioner feels as if he is being kept in confinement and seclusion.
Dr. Khan said, “This act of security authorities is illegal since no such order has been conveyed to me warranting the treatment being meted out to me now.” He said that the personnel of security agencies have no other task but to keep him confined in his house as if he is living in “solitary confinement.”
The nuclear scientist explained that this situation was triggered in January 2005, when he had been first placed under house arrest under the garb of security measures. He said that he was denied access to any friend or family member, and even his daughter and her children, who live nearby, were not allowed to meet him. He explained that the restrictions worsened to an extent that he was not allowed to access the court even.
Dr. Khan said that he was constantly kept in fear of being harmed. He said as an 84-year old who is suffering from multiple health conditions, it is unethical to keep him under constant fear and restraint of being physically harmed.
Dr. Khan said that the order issued by the LHC on September 25 this year dismissed his petition, stating that it lacks jurisdiction as per the regulations established by the Supreme Court. He said that his services for Pakistan have been acknowledged through several accolades and awards. However, the treatment he is getting is a clear violation of his constitutional rights of freedom and dignity, as laid down in Article 14 of the Constitution.
The petition argued that Dr. Khan has a fundamental right of being able to freely travel across the country, attend gatherings and hold meetings with friends and family.