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P L D 1999 KARACHI 39

MOHTARMA BENAZIR BHUTTO AND ANOTHER

V/S

FEDERATION OF PAKISTAN AND 2 OTHERS


Per Kamal Mansur Alam, C.J.

(a) Constitution of Pakistan(1973) Art. 199

Thus, we are of the view that as the main office of the Attorney-General is situated at Islamabad from where the impugned letter dated 6-11-1997 was written and dispatched, the petitions are not maintainable in this Court.
[p. 50]A.

b) Constitution of Pakistan (1973) Art. 100 & 199

The impugned letter was neither a command nor an was there any compulsion on the Swiss Authorities to comply therewith, it was merely in the nature of a request for mutual assistance in the alleged cases of corruption involving the petitioners and others. By that letter, which is calmed to be written on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, information about the various cases of alleged corruption had been provided to the Swiss Authorities with the request that action be taken in respect of such as were offence under their laws. Request was also made for providing to Pakistan information and evidence available in Switzerland pertaining to the referred cases of corruption, freezing of certain bank accounts and remittance of money to Pakistan illegally taken away. It was then for the Swiss Authorities to consider these requests and taken appropriate action.

It would seem that in such situation the Government cannot be denied the right to approach foreign authorities and make efforts to procure evidence of crime available in their country or to seek prosecution of the offender or remittance of money rightfully belonging to Pakistan.

It still remains to be seen if these acts can lawfully be executed by the respondent No. 2, Attorney-General on behalf of the Government. In this regard, reference may be made to the functions of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Division set out in para. 21 of Schedule II to the Rules of Business, where while enumerating the various functions of the Division, item 4 provides “Dealings and agreements with other countries and international organization in judicial and legal matter”, thus, it would appear that in so far as dealings and agreements with foreign countries in judicial and legal matters was concerned, it fell within the authority of the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Division. The Attorney-General being a part of the said Division and Chief Law Officer of the Government can always be assigned the work of entering into such dealings. That fact that the Federation of Pakistan is party in these proceedings and has not disputed respondent respondent No. 2’s act of writing the impugned letter would show that the same had been written with the authority of the Federal Government.

It is apparent from clause (3) of the Article, reporduced above, that apart from the functions vested in the Attorney-General by the Article, the Federal Government may assign to him other duties too. As such, under the authority of the Federal Government, the respondent No. 2 could have written the impugned letter. Since, there is no dispute on behalf of the Federal Government with regard to the authority of the Attorney-General to write the said letter, we are of the view that the act of writing the said letter was not without lawful authority. As to the various allegations in the letter suffice to say that these are relatable to the alleged offences and are to be read in that context.

For the reasons discussed above, both the said petitions are dismissed and, consequently, the ad interim orders dated 29-7-1998 passed in these petitions are recalled.[p. 52, 53]B, C & D.

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