ISLAMABAD: Resuming the Adiala missing prisoners’ case on Monday, the Supreme Court sought written explanations from the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence chiefs, Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Chief Secretary Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Dastagir Khan asking why the prisoners were not presented on court’s earlier order.
Seven prisoners who were sought by the court earlier were presented before the court today.
The court told K-P chief secretary to submit a comprehensive report entailing the details of the detention within four days to the Registrar Office of the Supreme Court, while JAG, MI and ISI were told to submit their reports on March 1.
The court directed ISI, MI chiefs to submit a report about how they had held 11 persons, what sort of trial was conducted, how they kept them and dealt with them, and why their health conditions were deteriorating. The court also directed ISI and MI to mention the cause of death of the four prisoners who died in army’s custody.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry inquired about the prisoners and asked where they were before January 26. K-P chief secretary replied saying that he did not have knowledge regarding the whereabouts of the prisoners.
The chief justice criticised his statement and said, “A provincial chief secretary should be aware of everything that happens in the province.”
“You should know where the Taliban are stationed and where an operation is carried out against them. You should have knowledge about the province,” said Chief Justice Chaudhry.
Counsel of ISI and MI chiefs Raja Irshad informed the court that, complying with the court’s orders, the prisoners were moved to Islamabad to be presented before the court.
Counsel of the prisoners Advocate Tariq Asad informed the court that during the confinement which lasted for more than a year, the prisoners were not exposed to the sunlight which worsened their health.
Advocate Asad further told the court that three out of the seven prisoners are suffering from kidney failure, while the rest diagnosed with other chronic diseases.
The court asked the counsel of ISI and MI chiefs if both the agencies had the constitutional authority to detain the civilians.
The chief justice said that the condition of the prisoners was rueful and that once the report is submitted, the court will determine if the detentions were lawful or not.
Defence of Human Rights Chairperson Amina Janjua prayed to the court that orders for the release of all the missing persons should be issued.
The court also ordered that the prisoners will now remain under the provincial administration and not ISI and MI.
“There should be proper medical treatment and they shall not be shifted to internment centre in Parachinar, so long as the matter is pending before the court,” the chief justice said, according to AFP.
“A medical board shall be constituted to examine their health,” he added.
The three-member bench, headed by the chief justice, had served notices to the ISI and MI chiefs on January 25 to explain the circumstances behind the deaths of the prisoners.
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 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.
Four of the 11 detainees – Muhammad Amir, Tahseenullah, Said Arab and Abdul Saboor – died in the custody of the ISI and MI.