Supreme Court on Monday suspended orders of high courts related to release of amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Local media reported, the top-court also stopped the high courts and the provincial governments from passing any order regarding release of prisoners.
The apex court also suspended the implementation of Islamabad High Court orders regarding the release of under trial prisoners.
In a notice to the federal government, advocates, IG Islamabad, provincial home secretaries, IG jails and prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau ordered the hearing of any under-trial prisoners.
During today’s hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed questioned under what pretext did the IHC give orders to release the prisoners.
“How can the high courts take a suo-motu notice,” CJP Gulzar remarked regarding a decision by the IHC on March 26, ordering the release of 24 under-trial suspects named in NAB references.
The orders issued in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the orders.
Furthermore The accountability bureau had contested the decision, with an additional prosecutor of the bureau asking the court to arrange for coronavirus testing of the suspects on an immediate basis.
“Why do you want to keep under-trial suspects in detention? What if the virus spreads to other prisoners while the test results awaited? Who will be responsible?” the IHC chief justice had asked the prosecutor. “Under trial, suspects are considered innocent until the trial has concluded,” IHC CJ Minallah said in his remarks. He advised the prosecution to build up solid cases against suspects and provide evidence in court. “The maximum penalty in these cases is imprisonment of up to 14 years, not the death penalty. Unfortunately, the courts are having to do the work that the executive should be doing,” he added.