Missing people case: Pak SC warns intelligence agencies against ‘illegal acts’

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s Supreme Court has warned the authorities- including the intelligence agencies- against taking any illegal actions, and reminded them that they were bound to trace the people who had been missing for years.

“No government functionary or any officer is competent or can possibly detain, arrest or pick up any citizen unless there is sufficient evidence leading this court or the judicial commission on missing persons to take an appropriate action,” the Dawn quoted a bench comprising Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, as saying in an order issued after proceedings on a number of cases relating to the missing people.

The court also hinted at the summoning of ISI Director General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha, saying that it had no other option but to summon him.

“All state functionaries, (intelligence) agencies and government officers are subject to the law and the Constitution, and they are supposed to act only and only in accordance with the law and obey the command of the Constitution. Any violation whereof may entail legal consequences if the mandate of the law is not strictly adhered to,” the order said.

Justice Fayyaz said the court would not even desist from registering criminal cases against those involved directly or indirectly in such matters.

“There is a limit to every thing,” he said.

At one point of time, the court even asked Supreme Court Bar Association chairperson Asma Jehangir to sit with the heads of the law-enforcement agencies (intelligence agencies) concerned, give her legal opinion on the matter and also allay their fears by assuring them that these are “our courts and that everybody should work for the rule of the law”.

“The secret agencies have the fear that if they surrender a victim they will face legal consequence,” Justice Fayyaz observed.

The order said: “This court being an apex court of the country is under obligation to ensure the right of citizens under the law. Any person found involved in terrorist activities, directly or indirectly, should be brought to the court of law and can be detained only under the security law.

“All that is wanted by the families, whose near and dear ones have gone missing, is that they at least have the right to know about the whereabouts of their relatives.”

Justice Fayyaz observed that the court order was being flouted flagrantly all the time, and deplored that the reports submitted to the courts on the matter were only attempts to kill time.

“Is it not the responsibility of the state to locate the disappeared persons?” he questioned.

The court order requires the interior and defence secretaries to be present in the court on each hearing because both of them “are being accused in the matter” in one way or the other.

The court has adjourned the hearing till January 27. (ANI)

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