PESHAWAR, May 29: Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan on Wednesday observed that intelligence agencies had been maligning the high court by instigating relatives of missing persons but the court could not be pressurised through such tactics and would continue acting in accordance with the Constitution.
Heading a bench hearing around 150 petitions of enforced disappearances, the chief justice observed that on each hearing hundreds of old men, women and children visited the court in the hope that their near and dear ones would be traced but they had begun losing trust in the court as the security agencies had not been complying with its orders.
He added that sometimes, the courts extended relaxation to the agencies keeping in view the ground realities, but these agencies instead of resolving the issue had been maligning the court and instigating relatives of missing persons to stage demonstrations like the one happened during the previous hearing last month.
“If they (agencies) continue to act in such a manner, the court will be constrained to constitute a larger bench for looking into all illegalities committed by the agencies, including the running of illegal detention centres,” he observed.
The chief justice observed that the court had been avoiding going to that extent as it would result in defamation of these agencies on international level.
He observed that certain institutions, including the agencies, had considered themselves above the law since the creation of Pakistan, but they should realise that would no longer be tolerated by the court.
“It should be clear to all from sepoy up to GHQ that illegal detention centres should be shut down as they will not be tolerated by the courts,” he observed adding that some officials had been running such centres without the knowledge of the high officials.
During the hearing, the bench comprising the chief justice and Justice Qaiser Rasheed expressed displeasure over the alleged activities of security agencies in missing person cases and directed the defence and interior secretaries and the directors general of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence to appear in person or depute a high-ranking official from their organisations each who are well versed with the issue on June 27, the next date of hearing.
The bench observed that these institutions should clearly understand that it would be the last warning to them and that it would closely monitor their conduct and in case they failed to mend their ways, the bench would be constrained to constitute a larger bench to see and determine the role of these agencies besides examining their entire operational system.
The bench reproduced its earlier order directing the government agencies to free innocent persons in their custody and shift suspected militants to notified internment centres for further proceedings and interrogation.
When the bench began hearing, section officer of the provincial home department Usman Zaman produced three lists according to which 25 detainees were recently shifted to Kohat internment centre, 15 others freed for being innocent and four handed over to police and tribal administration for legal action.
Another report was produced by deputy attorney general Muzamil Khan and an assistant director (legal) of defence ministry Captain Mohammad Ali, according to which one of the detainee had been shifted to Lakki Marwat internment centre, while the ministry had been scrutinising the remaining lists.
The bench, however, rejected the report, observing that it lacked sufficient information, and ordered production of a comprehensive report giving details of the whereabouts of the detainees.