Missing Adiala prisoners: SC allows counsel to file fresh petition

The counsel was allowed to file fresh petition after the demise of former petitioner Rohaifa Bibi.


Azam Khan September 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the counsel of the 11 missing Adiala prisoners to file a fresh petition after the demise of former petitioner Rohaifa Bibi.

Rohaifa Bibi was the mother of three of the detainees and had filed a petition for their release from internment centers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir and Raja Muhammad Irshad, counsel for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and DG Military Intelligence (MI), expressed no objection over this development.

Three of the 11 prisoners had allegedly died while in custody of the Pakistan Army.

A three-judge bench of the apex court issued notices to respondents in a related case on identical petitions – one of them filed by Jamaat-i-Islami senior leader Professor Muhammad Ibrahim against Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011.

The regulation, approved by President Asif Ali Zardari on the advice of the prime minister last year, allows any authorised officer of the military or even civil armed forces to detain any person whose internment is ‘expedient for peace’ in the defined area (an area defined by the governor of the province and is a reference to areas where the armed forces are acting in aid of civil powers).

The petitioners questioned powers of K-P’s civil administration in tribal areas under this regulation. The bench asked its office to club these set of petitions with the main plea moved by late Rohaifa Bibi for the release of her two sons currently held in the internment center in Landi Kotal.

During the proceedings, the chief justice observed that the court could examine the wires of the law and could decide it on merit. “If political parties’ act can be extended to Fata and Pata then everywhere fundamental rights issue can be considered by this court,” he said. The judge also expressed his fear that if the court orders the release of the detainees, would the verdict be implemented?

The chief justice sought Advocate Tariq Asad’s assistance on whether it could extend its jurisdiction in the tribal areas under relevant laws and declare the confinement of these inmates of internment centers as illegal.

Advocate Asad contended that the confinement of these inmates had indirectly been admitted by the concerned authorities as illegal. He apprised that nine missing Adiala prisoners included Shafiqur Rehman, Mohammad Mazharul Haq, Dr Ilyas, Nazir Ahmed, Abdul Majid, Abdul Basit, Abdul Saboor and Mohammad Aamir.

He maintained that among the missing prisoners, Abdul Saboor and Mohammad Aamir had died while the others were confined to the internment centers.

The court will take up this issue after seven days.

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