Nobody ready to rein in ISI: Pakistan court

Islamabad, Oct 25 (IANS) A court in Pakistan has observed that nobody, be it the federal government or parliament, was ready to bring in legislation to rein in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's all-powerful intelligence agency controlled by the military.

While hearing the case of 282 missing people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Thursday, Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Dost Muhammad Khan warned that the courts would be forced to restrict the members of the law enforcing agencies and security forces to their barracks if they continued to whisk away citizens on a daily basis through unlawful means, The News International reported Friday.

The report quoted Khan as saying that the provincial and federal governments had become spectators to the violation of the constitution, law and fundamental rights of the citizens by the intelligence agencies and security forces.

The chief justice observed that the government and the democratic system of the country would run smoothly only when the law enforcing agencies acted under the law.

He also pointed out that the US intelligence agency CIA too was a powerful intelligence agency but its top officials would appear immediately before a court whenever asked to do so.

The court submitted that like the US, the civilian government should also make the ISI its subordinate.

The judge said that the people's problems are on the rise and illegal detention centres in the country have also become a big problem for the judiciary.

However, Additional Attorney General of Pakistan Syed Attique Shah submitted before the two-member bench comprising the chief justice and Justice Asadullah Khan Chamkani in the missing persons case that the federal government, following the guidelines of the high

courts and Supreme Court, had established a task force for missing persons.

He said that the task force comprised an additional secretary of the interior ministry as chairman and chief secretaries, inspectors general of police, home secretaries, additional inspectors general and commissioner Islamabad and one representative of the attorney general's office as members.

The task force would adopt a methodology for recovery of the missing persons.

However, the chief justice said the task force would remain ineffective unless effective legislation was made on the issue of missing persons.

"We couldn't stop the cries of families of the missing persons in the court. No force or agency of the country is above the law," the chief justice said.

He also added that the judiciary should not be forced to pass strict orders regarding these acts of the agencies that were in violation of the law and constitution.

The bench gave four weeks' time to the federal government, the task force and the agencies concerned to find the missing persons.

The case has been adjourned till Nov 27.

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