ISLAMABAD, Oct 5: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said on Friday that heads of Inter Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and other agencies would be summoned if the missing people were not released.

The chief justice is heading a two-member bench of the court hearing pleas for recovery of missing people.

During the hearing, the bench grilled Defence Secretary Kamran Rasool and Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah and directed them to meet heads of intelligence agencies to know the whereabouts of the missing people. The secretaries were asked to submit a report in the court by Oct 11.

The bench observed that there was substantial evidence that the missing people were in the custody of the agencies and if they were not freed, cases would be registered against those responsible for keeping them in illegal custody.

When the interior secretary said that finding of the missing people was the responsibility of the provinces, the Chief Justice said: “Police say they have not arrested these people and they were in the custody of federal agencies. If the defence secretary says he cannot do anything we will summon heads of intelligence agencies. Uniformed generals of ISI and MI will be standing here and questioned.”

Deputy Attorney-General Naheeda Mehboob Elahi told the court that 15 more people had been found, 12 of them had been freed and three were facing charges. She said efforts were being made to locate the missing people. She said that under court orders, the government was providing facilities of medical treatment to Shahzain Bugti.

Human rights activist Asma Jehangir said it was ironical that agencies tortured people before releasing them and the court had to issue orders for their treatment. She said there were concrete evidences that the missing people were in the custody of intelligence agencies.

The Chief Justice said the court could not abdicate its responsibility of protecting fundamental rights of the people as guaranteed in the Constitution. He said the court did not want to take any extreme step but if it was forced to do so, the responsibility would lie on the government. “If we abrogate the whole system, these agencies will be free to do any thing. The people will not come to us. They will decide things in streets,” the Chief Justice said in response to the defence secretary’s insistence that the missing people were not in the custody of secret agencies.

The bench admonished the government for not taking the issue seriously and said the court had evidence that Masood Janjua and Faisal Mirza were in the custody of secret agencies and 110 missing people had been freed from their custody.

On defence secretary’s request for some time to submit a report, the bench asked him to do it by Oct 11 after consulting heads of the agencies. The court also directed the interior secretary to consult police chiefs and home secretaries of the four provinces.

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