Islamabad - A division bench of Islamabad High Court Tuesday suspended the single bench’s verdict wherein the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary’s counsel was directed to produce the bulletproof vehicle before the court by December 8.

The Division Bench comprising of Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi and Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of the Intra Court Appeal (ICA) moved by the focal person of Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party Sheikh Ahsanuddin Advocate who challenged Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s verdict dated December 2.

Justice Siddiqui on December 2 had directed former chief justice’s counsel to produce the vehicle before the court by December 8 where it would remain parked till the adjudication of the case.

In the ICA against the interim order of December 2, Iftikhar Chaudhary’s counsel stated that one of the reasons for the appeal was ‘the high court premises do not have adequate arrangements to manage the security of the vehicle.’ Therefore, the car could not be produced as it is supposed to be parked within the IHC’s premises.

Earlier, a division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi and Justice Aamer Farooq had allowed Intra Court Appeal (ICA) of the federal government against a January 15, 2014 order of an IHC single bench regarding provision of bulletproof vehicle to the former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), Justice (retd) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The IHC division had directed single bench to decide the matter after hearing from both sides. The federal government in its ICA had adopted before the IHC that single bench issued the said order without hearing them.

It was January 15, 2014 when Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC had directed federal government to provide Justice Chaudhry with security at par with the former prime ministers of Pakistan after he was informed by a joint secretary cabinet division Zia ul Haq that the federal government has provided bulletproof cars to the three former premiers including Ch Shujaat Hussain, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervez Ashraf, while no former president has been provided with the bulletproof cars.

In the current ICA, Sheikh Ashan said, “The learned judge of the high court failed to consider that the vehicle was never handed over by the order of the high court but it was given to the former chief justice of Pakistan on the direction of Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.”

The ICA also reproduced the order for the approval of the bulletproof car for the ex-CJP, which states, “The Prime Minister has been pleased to approve the... Mercedes Benz vehicle No GD-0341 Model 2005 as a special dispensation for a period of three months.

As per the cost of the POL/maintenance expenditure of the protected vehicle cannot be picked up by the government and has to be paid by the user of the vehicle through personal arrangements.”

Justice Siddiqui in a subsequent order in 2014 had not only extended the possession of the bulletproof car to the ex-CJP for an indefinite period but also directed the law ministry to bear the expense of the car.

The ICA said due to the fundamental rights and security of the former CJP under the current security situation, the matter was of public importance.

But the single judge of the high court while ordering for the production of the bulletproof vehicle totally ignored the risk and threats to the former CJP.

The ICA requested the court to set aside the order for the production of the bulletproof car till the adjudication of the petitions pending before Justice Siddique.