Pak Supreme Court can issue notices to spymasters as no one above law: Chief Justice

Friday, November 26, 2010

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled that it has the authority under the constitution to serve notices to intelligence agencies, as no one is above the law.

“The apex court has wider jurisdiction under Article 184(3) and Article 185 of the constitution to issue notices pertaining to important public cases,” the Daily Times quoted Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as saying, while hearing a case of eleven missing prisoners of Adiala Jail, allegedly abducted by the intelligence agencies.

However, the three-member bench of the apex court advised the Attorney General, Maulvi Anwarul Haq, to play his role and resolve the issue.

Haq, who had advocated on behalf of the spy agencies that their heads could not be made respondents in constitutional petitions, withdrew his stance after the court issued the critical remarks on a report from the agencies regarding the missing prisoners.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General had submitted a reply in the Supreme Court’s Registrar office on behalf of the chiefs of the intelligence agencies, stating that the eleven missing prisoners of the Adiala Jail were not in their custody.

In their reply, the heads of intelligence agencies had also stated that they or the intelligence agencies could not be made respondents in the constitutional petitions, and that the petitions filed by the legal heirs of the missing prisoners or other missing persons were not maintainable.

In reply to a question put by the court, Haq revealed that there was no specific law under which the secret agencies were functioning, and that under Section 29 of the Civil Procedure Court, notices could be issued to the federation.

At this, the Chief Justice said that the Civil Procedure Court was a subordinate legislation, while the apex court had wider jurisdiction and could issue notices to anyone, adding that no one was above the law.

“Prima facie you know about the evidence in the case, and being a high law officer, it’s your responsibility to assist the court and resolve the matter amicably,” Chaudhry said.

Meanwhile, despite the report submitted on behalf of the intelligence agencies, the Punjab Home Secretary submitted yet another report that said the missing prisoners were in the custody of the ISI.

During the hearing, the court issued fresh notices to the Punjab Home Secretary and other police and civil officials, and adjourned the case until December 13. (ANI)

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