The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday turned down a petition seeking temporary cancellation of orders for release of captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. Prime Minister Imran Khan in joint session of the parliament on Thursday had announced release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured after his fighter jet was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force on February 27 for violating the Pakistani airspace.Petitioner Muhammad Yasir through his counsel Shoaib Razzaq challenged the decision in the court. He made prime minster, federation of Pakistan, ministry of defense and ministry of foreign affairs respondents in the case. He requested the court that IAF pilot release order should be declared null and void till the final decision over the petition. While hearing the petition, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the petitioner that who had made the decision to release the pilot? Responding to the query, the petitioner said it was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The chief justice remarked that the decision was made and announced during a joint session of the parliament while no parliamentarian raised any objection over it. “So, this is a policy matter and we must respect the parliament,” he remarked.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, and the Geneva Convention stipulates that prisoners of war are to be returned only after the war is over. He said the prime minister did not enjoy public support on this decision. On the counsel’s arguments, Justice Minallah asked how he was questioning the patriotism of the parliamentarians. “All parliamentarians are agreed on the decision so there is no need for debate,” he remarked, and reminded the petitioner that the Supreme Court had ruled in 2014 that the courts should not interfere in the foreign policy matters.Published in Daily Times, Mach 2nd 2019.