IHC summons spy agencies’ senior officials in missing poet case

ISLAMABAD   -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday summoned Sector Commanders of ISI and MI and Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) to appear in person before the court in a case related to the recovery of missing Kashmiri poet Ahmed Farhad Shah.

The bench also summoned federal law minister as well as Secretaries of Interior and Defence to appear before the court in this matter on the next hearing to be held on May 29.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing in the missing poet Ahmed Farhad case wherein his wife moved the court through lawyers Iman Mazari Advocate and Hadi Ali Chatha Advocate for recovery of her husband.

In its written order which is in Urdu language, the bench also asked about the administrative process which are formally notified and which shows “accountability” system and “self-check” mechanism under which the officials and operatives of the agencies are “accountable” for their mistakes, negligence and illegal affairs.

Justice Kayani also directed the concerned officers of IB, ISI and MI to appear before the court in person and assist the court regarding the administrative matters of their respective departments.

He further asked that how much amount was spent as expenditures if any agency has taken into custody any Pakistani citizen or foreign persons during the last one year. He directed them to explain about any SOPs or rules and regulations for the joint operations of MI, ISI and IB with the police, FIA and CTD.

Justice Mohsin inquired about the duties of sector commanders of ISI, MI and IB and under which, the same are explained. He added that administratively, the officials of ISI, IB and MI are working under which code of conduct.

The IHC bench also directed the IGP to present his written report regarding the cases against the “unknown persons” in which the investigation officer recorded the statements of abductees and their family members related to their allegations against any agency and then, he had recorded the statement of the sector commander of the relevant agency while investigating the case.

During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan and Inspector General (IG) of Islamabad police Ali Nasir Rizvi appeared before the court and the AGP told the court that a few call detail records (CDRs) were available that were being used to trace Shah.

At this, Justice Kayani asked him that whether you are saying that the state has failed? The AGP replied in negative.

Justice Kayani observed that recovery of the missing person is the state’s compulsion, otherwise it would be its failure. Then, he asked if the defence secretary was present in the court. The AGP said that he was not as the court order had not mentioned so. He added that however, he will appear if the court summons him.

At this, Justice Kayani ordered that the defence secretary should appear at the next hearing and explain the working of the ISI. The judge reiterated that non recovery of Shah was the state’s failure. Then, AGP Awan requested the court not to term it a failure. He maintained that if they are not able to present him before the court then he would admit that the state has failed.

Referring to the police officials present in the court, the judge said that they had appeared there as they were “answerable”. He remarked that transparency in the working is highly important. He added that while performing their duties, policemen get beaten and have their uniforms torn apart too.

He observed that if neither institutions are answerable nor you can make them answerable, what would happen? There must be a structure for agencies where someone is answerable to someone.

He said that now, the ISI sector commander’s statement will be recorded in the missing persons case and a police officer will record his statement and write it. The judge said the defence secretary should explain to the court how the ISI collects data and how many people work under the sector commander.

He remarked that they will now form a mechanism for those who go missing across Pakistan. He further said that the court assistants would be appointed in the case, including journalists and former police IGs.

In reference to a recent PEMRA’s notification, Justice Kayani said that the media is absolutely allowed to report this. He added that the Pemr’s notification is not present before him and they would live-stream this court’s proceedings at the next hearing.

During the hearing, the Senior Superintendent of Police (operations) appeared before the court and informed the bench that Shah’s location has been traced while a police team is present there. The judge asked him that from which agency, the police were seeking assistance.

The SSP replied that the police were seeking assistance from the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Justice Kayani asked whether the ISI and the Military Intelligence (MI) were not taking part in the recovery efforts.

The judge then ordered SSP Zafar to record the ISI sector commander’s statement in the case and said that he should appear in person at the next hearing.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt