Missing persons' case: SC warns ISI, MI of action if found guilty
22 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Hearing Adiala Jail missing prisoners' case, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has observed that the intelligence agencies do not have authority to keep anyone in their custody for an indefinite period, and warned the ISI and MI that law would take its course if they were found guilty.
The chief justice inquired from the counsel of the top two spy agencies that if there was no evidence against the missing prisoners then why were the agencies keeping them in their custody. "Do you have any justification of it," he further inquired. He said that if their custody was proved illegal then law would take its course, as no one is above law. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by the CJP himself, directed the agencies' counsel, Raja Irshad, to provide evidence for keeping the missing prisoners in the internment centre and asked how many reviews have been conducted about their situation.
Deputy Attorney General Dil Muhammad Khan Ali said that after every 120 days the internment centre authority had to review the evidences against the persons taken into custody. Justice Azmat Saeed questioned how long the agencies would do reviews and how many have been conducted regarding the prisoners so far. He also sought proof of the reviews. Raja Irshad said that the agencies have handed over the Adiala Jail prisoners to the FATA administration. The chief justice noted that when the agencies the prisoners were arrested it was said that they would be tried, which has not happened so far.
Justice Iftikhar said that this was a matter of independence of a person and the constitution guarantees this freedom. Raja Arshad replied that although the agencies did not have lawful evidences, but the court was also satisfied that those prisoners were involved in anti-state activities. The counsel told the bench that sometimes there were moral grounds leading to arrest of persons. The chief justice remarked that morality does not have importance before the law and if you have any material evidence then it should be produced before the court.
Raja Irshad said if the chief justice ordered they would release the missing prisoners confined in the internment centre in FATA. The chief justice questioned why should the court issue an order, and told the counsel that the agencies should decide themselves. The ISI and MI counsel said that the agencies did not arrest people who have clean record. The court observed that for the agencies everyone is guilty.
The chief justice inquired that if there was no evidence against the prisoners then why were the agencies keeping them in custody. "Do you have any justification of it," the chief justice inquired. He said that their custody was illegal then law would take its course. Justice Azmat Saeed, meanwhile, noted that terrorism has been a problem for long in the country but laws were not framed to control it. He said it seemed that the federation was not serious about it because if it had been, it would have definitely mnade laws.