PESHAWAR: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the Peshawar High Court (PHC) order of holding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance 2019 as illegal and formed a larger bench to hear the case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Aminuddin announced the verdict on Thursday. The court ordered the formation of a larger bench to take up the matter and issued notices to the respondents and other parties.

KP Additional Advocate General Qasim Khan Wadood and Advocate General Shumail Butt presented arguments before the apex court.

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the matter of the ordinance was of a great national importance. The additional advocate general quoted the chief justice as saying that the apex court will ensure that the basic principles of the Constituent are not violated.

Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and Shumail Butt gave arguments in the court through video-link. The court ordered that the PHC order will remain suspended till the final decision by the Supreme Court.

The hearing has been postponed and will be held on November 15.

The ordinance was promulgated by the KP governor in August which authorised the armed forces to detain anyone at anytime, anywhere in the province without assigning any reason and without producing the accused before a court of law.

On October 17, the Peshawar High Court suspended ordinance declaring it illegal. The PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Musarat Hilali observed that the ordinance was not even made public.

The petitions before the PHC were filed by different people including those detained at different internment centres in KP.

In its judgement, the PHC had directed the KP home secretary to notify all the internment centres as sub-jails, the KP’s inspector general (prison) was directed to take control of all such jails so declared.

The PHC had also ordered to release all those internees who were not charged in any case and a period of 90 days.

The federal government had challenged the PHC judgement through the law minister and raised 46 questions.