The Islamabad High Court approved for hearing on Friday a petition against the release of the Indian Air Force pilot captured by Pakistan and later rejected it.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured after his jet was shot down on February 27 for violating Pakistani airspace.
Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case hours before his release.
The petitioner wants the release to be stopped immediately.
Justice Minallah asked the petitioner who made the decision to release the pilot. It was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he answered his own question. It was announced during a session of parliament and no parliamentarian raised any objections so this is a policy matter and we must respect parliament, he said.
However, the petitioner’s lawyer argued that PM Khan had not taken parliament into confidence. A war is still going on along the Line of Control, he argued, adding that the Geneva Convention stipulates that prisoners of war are to be returned after the war is over.
He said the prime minister did not have public support on this decision.
However, Justice Minallah asked how he was questioning his parliamentarians’ patriotism. All parliamentarians agreed upon the fact so there was no need for debate, he said.
The chief justice reminded the petitioner that the Supreme Court had in 2014 ruled that the courts should not get involved in foreign policy matters.
Pakistan announced on February 28 that it would be releasing the pilot as a gesture of goodwill. He is scheduled to be sent back today (Friday) in the afternoon via the Wagah Border.