Supreme_Court_AFP_7_670
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday gave the government until Tuesday to resolve the issue of Adiyala jail's 'missing' prisoners, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the case pertaining to the missing prisoners.

During today's hearing, the chief justice said that the court could not allow anyone to toy with people's lives.

Chief Justice Iftikhar moreover inquired over the grounds for the prisoners' detention.

Responding to which, the counsel for the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence, Advocate Raja Mohammad Irshad, said that the prisoners had been placed in detention under existing laws.

The chief justice said the Constitution protected the fundamental rights of the people and observed that four out of the 11 prisoners had died. He added that four out of the remaining seven prisoners were severely ill.

Chief Justice Iftikhar questioned as to who would be responsible if any of the four ill prisoners died.

He added that either the prisoners should be tried as per law or they should be released.

The chief justice moreover questioned Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Dil Mohammad Alizai as to what evidence had been found against the prisoners.

Alizai said there was proof against the detainees, adding that secretary Fata should be summoned as he would be able to produce the relevant record.

Chief Justice Iftikhar said neither the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments nor the intelligence agencies were responding clearly on the matter.

Addressing Irshad, the chief justice said the intelligence agencies were answerable to the apex court.

He asked Irshad as to what action had been taken against the prisoners who had been in detention since 2006.

In response, Irshad said intelligence agencies are convinced that the detainees were involved in terrorist activities.

The counsel added that due to the absence of requisite evidence, the detainees had not been tried under the army act.

In his remarks, Justice Gulzar said the detainees should be released if the authorities had no evidence against them.

Chief Justice Iftikhar added that if there was any evidence against the prisoners, they should be made available to the court.

Justice Gulzar moreover remarked that detention could only be for a certain period of time and not indefinite.

The court directed all parties to submit their response on the matter by 9:30 am on Tuesday.

The 11 prisoners went missing from the gate of Rawalpindi’s Adiyala Jail on May 29, 2010 after they had been acquitted of terrorism charges pertaining to their alleged involvement in the Oct 2009 attacks on GHQ and ISI’s Hamza Camp in Rawalpindi.

Later, four of the 11 died in mysterious circumstances and the remaining seven were produced before the apex court on Feb 13 in a bad shape. They were sent to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar on court orders. After five of them recovered, they were shifted to an internment centre in Parachinar.

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