Aafia case: IHC appoints two amici curiae to move things forward

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) has appointed two amici curiae in the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to assist the court besides coordinating with the ministry of foreign affairs and the American lawyer of Dr Aafia, Clive Stafford Smith.

According to a statement sent by Aafia Movement on Monday, a single bench of Islamabad High Court IHC comprising Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaque Khan here heard the constitutional petition of Dr Fowzia Siddiqui. Imran Shafique, advocate appeared for the petitioner. Mr Clive Stafford Smith and Dr Fowzia Siddiqui appeared through video link.

Hafiz Ahmad Rashid AAG, Ms Zainab Janjua advocate/ amici, Additional Secretary MoFA US through video link, Mr Assad Burki legal advisor MoFA, and Muhammad Hamza, AD US-II appeared on behaviour of the respondents.

The court order said that the ministry has further filed that as always remains unnumbered and undated despite a clear order to this effect passed on the last date. Learned counsel of the petitioner also filed today a declaration by Mr Smith, which apart from raising several points that necessitate MoFA's attention also brings to the fore the fact that MoFA does not have any visibility on the diaspora of Pakistani lawyers in top-ranked law firms who can be contacted to support Mr Smith's efforts. Further several other points raised in Mr Smith's declaration necessitate that this Court appoints amici to move things forward.

Accordingly, the Court appoints Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif and Ms Zainab Janjua as amici to assist in this matter. The office is directed to prepare a copy set of the order sheets from January 2021, all the declarations filed by Mr Smith and all the updates filed by MoFA, and to dispatch those both sets to the amici at the earliest. Mr Imran Shafique would ensure that the telephone numbers and email addresses of Mr Smith and the two amici appointed today are exchanged among them so that communication can commence, read the court order.