SC rejects 9-year-old plea against US embassy’s expansion


–CJP says petition not maintainable as embassy’s expansion does not violate any right of the petitioner


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) on Wednesday rejected a constitutional petition against the expansion of United States’ embassy in the federal capital, observing that none of the rights of the petitioner were violated, and therefore, the petition is not maintainable.

Heading a three-member bench, Justice Nisar observed that it is a direct policy matter.

Petitioner Zafarullah Khan, a lawyer and chairman of Watan Party, had approached the apex court in 2009, praying the apex court to ask the government to verify the allegation that a hotel was being constructed in the US embassy.

Appearing before the court, Barrister Zafarullah Khan argued that the US is constructing a hotel inside the embassy which is in clear violation of international rules and conventions. The bench then asked the petitioner whether those conventions are part of domestic laws.

Justice Nisar said these are direct policy matters and asked the petitioner to point out the fundamental rights which he claims were violated by the construction of the embassy. The petitioner referred to Article 9 of the Constitution which pertains to the right to life.

Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sohail Mahmood referred to the court order dated March 21, 2009, wherein it was stated that the court will examine the maintainability of the petition.

After a brief hearing, the bench dismissed the petition, saying that no rights of the petitioner were violated, hence the petition is not maintainable.

On March 26, the apex court had decided to examine a report by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on March 28 on the US embassy’s construction plan to build a basement and a new seven-story office building.

The top court took up the petition after almost two years as on March 21, 2016, the apex court had earlier sought a written explanation over the petitioner’s allegations regarding the construction of a hotel inside the embassy.