Islamabad, Nov 26 (ANI): Referring to the case of eleven missing prisoners of Adiala Jail, allegedly abducted by Pakistani intelligence agencies, a newspaper editorial has stated that these spy agencies of have once again "cleverly cloaked themselves in a veil of impunity".
"Pakistan's intelligence agencies seem to think they are above the law. This could not have been more obvious in the case of the 11 missing prisoners who were allegedly picked up by our agencies from the Adiala Jail," said the Daily Times editorial.
It quoted Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq's written reply to the Supreme Court (SC) on behalf of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), as saying: "It is stated stance of answering respondents that the alleged detained prisoners are not in their custody."
In a separate reply, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) claimed the same. However, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, taking a tough stance, took umbrage at the ISI and MI's reply that "an office cannot be sued. The proper party is the Federation of Pakistan through the secretary of relevant ministries".
On being prodded by the Chief Justice, Haq revealed 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 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.
Taking note of killings in Balochistan, the editorial said: "When extra-judicial killings are being carried out by these agencies, there is sufficient suspicion to believe that the Adiala Jail inmates are in their custody as well. It will be a real test for the judiciary to prove its mettle if it can take the security agencies to task."
It recalled that the last time the Chief Justice had threatened to bring the intelligence chiefs to court for questioning in the missing persons' cases, he was unceremoniously removed by former President Pervez Musharraf.
"But this should not deter CJ Chaudhry who is known for taking bold steps to establish the judiciary's independence. It is time to put an end to this culture of impunity and the intelligence agencies made accountable for their alleged crimes against humanity," the editorial added. (ANI)