LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday restrained the federal government from releasing $20 million to three US lawyers for pleading Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s case in American courts.
Hearing a miscellaneous application moved by Aafia’s counsel barrister Muhammad Iqbal Jafree, Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry observed that payment to American attorneys should be withheld pending the final decision of the case by the LHC if it had not been made yet.
He also directed the federal government to submit a reply to the application and the main petition fixed for Aug 17, and to inform the court about any objection to referring the matter to the International Court of Justice.
He said the government had spent a negligible amount on writing to the ICJ because it was not serious in pleading Aafia’s case and $20 million allocated for the purpose would only go into the pockets of some people.
He pointed out that the attorney general had informed the Islamabad High Court last year that Aafia’s case would be referred to the ICJ in case of failure of diplomatic efforts to secure her release by Nov 4, 2008.