ISLAMABAD: They fell into wordless embrace of their relatives and remained locked there crying and thanking Allah for the little mercy.
It was an emotion-filled scene for reporters covering the production before the Supreme Court on Monday of the remaining seven of the 11 prisoners who had mysteriously gone missing from outside Rawalpindi's Adilyala Jail in May 2010.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez had ordered Advocate Raja Muhammad Irshad, the legal counsel for directors general of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence, and Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the first time to ensure the suspects' production at all cost on Monday.
The court had taken up a petition of Ruhaifa, mother of three brothers picked by the agencies. One of them was later found dead.
The prisoners produced before the court were Mazhar-ur-Haq, Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Shafiq, Dr Niaz Ahmed, Abdul Majeed, Gulroze and Abdul Basit. Four of them were brought from Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital and three from the Internment Centre in Parachinar.
On Jan 6 last year, the Supreme Court had disposed of a joint petition on the assurance that the prisoners would face the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Army Act, 1952. But none of them was ever tried.
The prisoners were wanted for different acts of terrorism, including a rocket attack on the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra, anti-aircraft shots fired at a plane carrying former president Pervez Musharraf, suicide attacks on the bus of an intelligence agency in Rawalpindi, attack on the GHQ, bomb attack on the Rawalpindi Parade Lane mosque and attacks on different military installations, besides killing a number of senior army personnel.
Visibly frail Abdul Majid was carrying a urine bag attached to the lower part of his stomach. He learnt only on Monday that one of his detained brothers, Abdul Saboor, had died long ago in imprisonment.
He was limping and needed assistance because he could not walk on his own.
One thing is common among all. They are suffering from a common ailment of skin with the entire body covered with small blisters.
The only heartening feature of Monday's proceedings was admiration and praise Amina Masood Janjua received from the relatives of the detainees.
She is chairperson of the Defence for Human Rights and has been campaigning for the release of missing persons.
After the court proceedings the prisoners narrated horrifying ordeal they had undergone during their confinement.
“We were treated worse than animals. All during our confinement stretching over years we were given gram curry and dry bread,” Mazhar-ur-Haq said.
Dr Niaz complained: “We were kept blindfolded and given only two minutes time for toilets twice a day.”
Almost all of them said they had no idea why they had been picked and never interrogated.
The prisoners were later taken to the attorney general's office with the help of family members for reunion. Although surrounded by intelligence personnel, they kept talking with journalists.
Three-and-a-half-year-old Hadia met her father Abdul Majid for the first time after her birth, along with his elder brother Anzella of four years. Anzella was 40 days old when his father went missing.
Ghulam Murtaza, father of Mazhar-ur-Haq, told Dawn that he had met his son after over one year. “My son cannot talk normally. He told me that he was kept in a basement in Parachinar in freezing cold with a window open all night. He was without any quilt or mattress and used to sleep on floor.
We have no right to live, we are not human beings,” said Murtaza in a choked voice.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Secretary Ghulam Dastgir informed the court that the detainees had been in the FC Fort in Parachinar, Kurrum Agency, since Jan 26 this year.
He assured the court that the prisoners would be admitted to the LRH and a medical board would examine their health and provide food to them. They will not be shifted to the internment centre as long the matter is pending before the court.
The chief secretary said an oversight board had been constituted under Article 14 of the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation 2011 but could not examine the prisoners because they had been brought to the internment centre on Jan 26.
He is required to submit to the court registrar reports on health and general conditions of detainees every four days.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq has been asked to obtain record of the detention prior to Jan 26 and inquire whether the prisoners had been proceeded against any law and, if so, what was the result.
The chief secretary is also required to collect the relevant record to satisfy the court under what circumstances the detained persons had been allowed to be admitted to the internment centre because such action could not be taken in a mechanical manner but had to be taken through an order passed by applying judicial mind, as regulations required proformas before admitting them to the centre.