ISLAMABAD: After a day’s unsuccessful wait, the Supreme Court has ordered that the seven prisoners who went missing from Adiala Jail must be presented in person on February 13.
“Our order has not been complied with. The missing prisoners are in custody of the intelligence agencies,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said in Friday’s hearing. “Right now, we want to see the surviving prisoners. Later, we will investigate the circumstances in which the four deceased prisoners died and also fix responsibility.”
The court also summoned the defence secretary and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary in person at the next date of hearing. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor was directed to present a report through the provincial chief secretary on the condition of the prisoners who are hospitalised in Peshawar and Parachinar.
The court also ordered the chiefs of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence agencies and the defence secretary to produce the surviving prisoners safely before the court and file a compliance report with the Registrar Office.
Hearing was then adjourned till February 13.
Earlier on Friday, the court had told the ISI and MI chiefs’ counsel that the bench will wait till 7pm in the court until the missing prisoners are brought before the court.
The court had earlier directed the counsel of ISI and MI chiefs Raja Irshad that the missing prisoners be presented before the court after Irshad told the court that four out of 11 prisoners picked up from Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, had died in custody, but of “natural causes”.
Resuming the hearing on Friday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry questioned Irshad, “Which authority considers itself above the law and is intervening in court’s matter.” The chief justice asked Irshad why court’s orders were not followed properly.
Irshad told the court that the prisoners were in poor health condition and that they could not be presented before the court. Justice Arif Khilji responded saying that if the patients should have been brought to the court even if they were to be brought on a “stretcher”.
In his defense, Irshad presented a letter to the court which entailed the details of the prisoners’ medical condition and stated that currently, they could not be moved out of the hospital.
The chief justice remarked that if the prime minister of Pakistan could be summoned to the court for not complying to its orders, then it does not leave room for anyone else to not obey court’s orders.
“Bring them [the patients] in helicopters, if they cannot be brought in cars,” said the chief justice.
The bench also asked the counsel of ISI and MI that why the patients were admitted in hospitals located outside Islamabad when there are “enough hospitals in Islamabad as well.”
The court said that an investigation could also be initiated against ISI and MI under Article 9 of the Constitution for not following the court’s orders. “This is a violation of fundamental rights of an individual. We have to determine the reason of the deaths,” said Chief Justice Chaudhry.
Justice Tariq Parvez observed that the whole world felt the gravity of the case and said that institutions in Pakistan “have done nothing about it so far.”
The civilians had been facing a court martial under the Army Act on charges of attacking the General Headquarters (GHQ) and ISI’s Hamza Camp base.
They were picked up from Adiala Jail by intelligence agencies after they had been acquitted of the charges by the court.