No law to govern spy agencies in Pakistan: official

By Awais Saleem, IANS
Thursday, November 25, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq said Thursday that there was no law governing the working of intelligence agencies operating under the armed forces.

During the hearing of a case in the Supreme Court regarding 11 suspected militants who went missing after they were acquitted by the court, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Ch. questioned “whether there is law prevalent in the country to supervise the working of secret agencies”.

The apex court said that “this is absurd to say that the secret agencies are above the law of the land”.

“We don’t want a confrontation amongst the institutions. Therefore, the state should submit answers in the court after proper thinking,” the chief justice said.

“How can the attorney general say that notices cannot be issued to the chiefs of these secret agencies,” he said.

The attorney general had argued that there was no law in Pakistan to govern the working of “secret agencies” operating under the direct command of the military.

The apex court had issued notices to the chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence on the last hearing. Their responses were submitted in the court Thursday.

The heads of all the secret agencies denied that the missing people were in their custody.

“We will now require the lawyers of the plaintiffs to produce evidence that these people are being detained by these agencies as alleged in the petition,” the official said.

The chief justice also issued notices to the former home secretary of Punjab and others to explain how these people went missing.

All 11 accused were suspected of plotting an assassination attempt on then president Pervez Musharraf in 2008 and were acquitted by an anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi in July this year.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at

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