SC summons top spymasters

MI, ISI and IB heads reluctant to appear before the court; want private meeting with CJ.

Qaiser Zulfiqar November 13, 2010

ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court Friday summoned chiefs of the Military Intelligence (MI), Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and other officials concerned in a suo motu case for the recovery of 11 missing persons who were allegedly picked up by officials of spy agencies from Adiala Jail despite their being acquitted from an anti-terrorism court.

This is the first time that the three top secret agencies have been asked to appear in an open hearing of the apex court but the heads of the agencies are reluctant to appear before the court under public glare: they are insisting on a secret meeting to clarify the issue.

Attorney-General Maulvi Anwarul Haq appeared before the three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and pleaded that he had contacted the spy agencies and they had reassured him that they were “unaware of the whereabouts” of the missing persons and insisted that those 11 people were not in their custody.

The attorney-general further submitted that he had contacted federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik but he also “has no knowledge” about where they are being detained.

Haq told the court that chiefs of the spy agencies wanted to meet the apex court’s chief justice in his chamber to brief him on the issue. However, the chief justice turned down the request and remarked: “There can be no secret meeting because the matter is in open court”.

“You should reconsider Mr attorney-general … the court has sufficient evidence proving where these 11 missing persons are, and in whose custody,” Chief Justice further remarked adding “Don’t press the court to take extreme measures …there can be complications for everyone (involved) if this matter goes any further.”

“Our country cannot afford any clash between institutions, but in this case the officials involved should be indiscriminately prosecuted. Once comments are submitted before the court, everyone will have to appear before it,” Chief Justice said.

“If the matter is not resolved soon, everyone will have to face serious consequences,” the chief justice said while addressing the attorney-general. “You are assisting the court. You should play your role to solve the matter.”

“We have to look into this matter in light of these Articles 9, 25, 4 and 10-A of the Constitution,” the chief justice said.

“You have remained a very good judge so you should solve this matter in accordance with the law,” Justice Tariq Pervez, another judge on the bench, said.

After tea break, the attorney-general informed the court that he had contacted the spy chiefs again but they were insisting that the particular missing people were not in their custody upon which the chief justice served notices on the chiefs of the three major spy agencies and adjourned the case till November 25. The Supreme Court chief justice also directed the attorney-general to contact the registrar’s office if he wants to review the report filed by the chief secretaty, Punjab.

At the previous hearing, the provincial chief secretary had submitted a secret report to the bench about the entire episode.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.


Zahid Hussain | 11 years ago | Reply An interesting case. The response, in any form, from those summoned will determine the level of professional skill and personal wisdom exercised by responsible members of Pakistan's MOST IMPORTANT INSTITUTIONS in resolving extremely crucial matters of cocern. Let us see how media pundits comment on this development.
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