Spooks in the court

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How does one read the Supreme Courts notices to the chiefs of the intelligence agencies in what is, after all, a missing persons case? The court stepping up to the plate? Most certainly. The spooks should most certainly be taken to task. The notices are in a case related to prisoners who had gone missing from the Adiala Jail. Some reports in the press allege that the prisoners were picked up by the intelligence agencies. The Chief Justice also did well to refuse to hear the intelligence chiefs in his chambers but insisted on hearings in the courtroom instead.

Though they are spooks in their own right, the Intelligence Bureau is not nearly as prickly as the other two. Its operatives have often been held accountable since some time now. As have officials in other civil departments. In fact, the police department has had to bear most of the brunt of the judiciarys dedicated pursuit of the missing persons cases. It was only towards the end of the previous military regime that the judiciary had to learn that the missing persons cases – generally, not that of the missing prisoners were not really as much something for the police to do as it was for the intelligence agencies to find out. As far as the intelligence agencies are concerned, there should be clarity in what their respective ambits are. For instance, the role of the ISI should be clearly delineated from that of the MI. That the latter is even being asked to comment in front of the court on an internal matter is proof that there either there is confusion about the mission statements of the different agencies or we simply have too many agencies doing the same thing. Moreover, the ISI blocks any attempt to bring it under parliamentary control.

Now that things finally seem to be moving in the correct direction, it is hoped that the missing persons saga can come to an end eventually.