Human Rights

IHC Summons Top Security Officials and Law Minister on May 29

Court Proceedings in Enforced Disappearances cases will telecast live from next hearing: Justice Kiyani

Islamabad: Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Senior Puisne Judge, Islamabad High Court has summoned the Sector Commander, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Sector Commander, Military Intelligence (MI), Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Secretary Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Defense and Federal Law Minister to his court on May 29th to make court law and guidelines regarding Enforced Disappearances.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani was presiding over a hearing regarding the abduction of Poet Ahmad Farhad on Friday. Attorney General Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan – who told the court on the last hearing that he’ll utilize all resources to recover Ahmad Farhad in 4 days – couldn’t recover the abductee. Justice Kiyani remarked the case of the abduction of Ahmad Farhad is irrelevant now since the state couldn’t recover him in the promised time, now I have another vision to proceed in this matter. This matter has international implications, he added.

In the written court order, (The Reporters have copy of the order), it’s stated that this is not the only case in enforced disappearances which will finish when the person is recovered, a permanent solution, rules, and procedures need to be made in order to tackle enforced disappearances. The order states some questions which need to be addressed.

Written report sought from IG police on how many cases in all the police stations have been registered in enforced disappearances. How many family members of missing persons have nominated agencies in the applications and how many sector commanders have given statements during investigations?

What are the possibilities of the state financially compensating relatives of missing persons and what needs to be done in this matter?

ISI, IB, and MI are generally blamed for enforced disappearances which hurts their repute and administrative matters, it also spreads negativity among people for the agencies. The Law Minister and Secretary Ministry of Law have been appointed as amicus curiae of the court to assist the court on how to overcome that interagency and citizens’ negativity against them.

What’s the job description of Sector Commanders of ISI, IB, and MI, and which law defines their duties? What’s their code of conduct in administration matters?

Have any investigation officer taken any statement of any official of MI, ISI, and IB in the last year and added them to the investigation, If yes, if yes then what’s the procedure?

Detailed report sought on SOPs and procedure of any joint investigation of ISI, MI, and IB with CTD and FIA.

How many people have been taken by ISI, IB, and MI for investigation and interrogation, and how many times charges were framed after registration of an FIR against the accused who was taken in custody by agencies?

How many officials of ISI, IB, and MI have been pointed out for phone tapping, harassing, and blackmailing ordinary people in the last year? If there are officials found indulging in such activities what kind of institutional action has been taken against them and what punishment has been given to them?

How much money has been spent on the local and international people who were taken into custody for interrogation by the agencies?

Concerned officials of ISI, MI, and IB are to be presented in court on the next date of hearing to assist the court with their administrative procedures regarding all of the above.

Renowned Journalist, Hamid Mir and the Secretary, of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) are also assigned as amicus curiae of the court to assist the court on live telecast of court proceedings of missing person cases and whether it will create a positive or negative impact on the society. They should also assist the court on whether live telecast of court proceedings of missing persons would help the society in the public interest and also assist the court on whether there’s any restriction by the law of not televising such proceedings. They should also suggest the court adopt measures so this abominable act is eradicated from society.

The order also sought information on administrative measures that are taken within the institutions for self-check and Accountability and how they help institutions to make employees who are found in false practices.

The Hearing

When Justice Kiyani found out that Ahmad Farhad has not been released and AGP had submitted that MI teams are deployed within the area where abductee Ahmad Farhad is located, Justice Kiyani said, Police officials are standing here from IG to SHO because they deal with the public and they’re answerable to the public. Every institution Judiciary, Parliament, and Police is answerable to the public because they’re sitting in the public services seat. Police stand on roads, and get beaten up by protestors, they are also affected by tear gas which they do but they do their duty because there answerable. If you ask the policemen each of them would’ve been suspended 24 times at least but they do their job. If institutions wouldn’t stand accountable they won’t answer anyone.

Justice Kiyani remarked that guidelines and parameters should be set for missing person cases. If someone nominates agencies, an IO from the police will take the statement of the Sector Commander each time, interrogate him, and submit a report in the court and we might name the procedure as Farhad Guidelines.

Justice Kiyani asked AGP about the hierarchy of DG ISI, and AGP Awan replied that ISI comes directly under the Prime Minister. Justice Kiyani remarked that we can summon the Prime Minister then, we’ll go through the process and will summon the PM if it’s needed.

Justice Kiyani said it’s not for Ahmad Farhad anymore, it’s about the recovery of the whole Nation now. This case would’ve been closed if Farhad had recovered today but Judge-made law will come into action to define the working of intelligence agencies and the working police in such cases.

Justice Kiyani told AGP you’ll have to tell us about the working process of agencies because this court is unaware of that and we’ve seen many judgments but it’s not present anywhere. AG Awan replied agencies role is in the domain of law, we’ll also see how the various agencies operate in their countries to which Justice Kiyani said agency chiefs in the USA present themselves before the congress committee, and they should make a Parliamentary Committee here and summon the DG ISI in those committees.

Justice Kiyani further remarked that I’ve never seen a court refusing physical or judicial remand of a terrorist who is presented in the court nor given a wrongful bail to a terrorist.

Adv. Iman Mazari, lawyer of petitioner Ain Naqvi told the court that, they’re trying to make a video of Farhad. We have previously seen in some cases that FC handed over missing persons to agencies and then they make videos of them. MI should also be moved in this case. Justice Kiyani said there’s no legal value of the videos that are made in the custody.

Senior Journalist Hamid Mir appeared at the rostrum and told the court that PEMRA has barred electronic media from reporting court proceedings after one of your remarks about raising a white flag between the institution went on air and the Law Minister held a press conference after that. Justice Kiyani remarked there should be a live telecast of the proceedings of missing persons, I’ll write that in the order and will also try to make a larger bench on that.

Justice Kiyani towards the end of the hearing told SSP Operations to bring a written statement of Sector Commander ISI along with the secretary of defense, The Sector commander is equivalent to the SHO of police, if the SHO is not ashamed to be here in the court then he must also not feel insulted to appear in court. The courts are not here to insult anyone, I’ll be the last man to insult anyone in uniform. If he’s not understanding the law, I’ll make sure he understands the law. Tell that man to appear in person.

Ali Hamza

Ali Hamza is an Islamabad-based journalist with a keen focus on courts, politics, and missing person cases. Known for his in-depth reporting, Ali has established himself as a credible voice in the field of journalism. Follow him on Twitter @alihamzaisb
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