The not-so hidden hand


Finally, the top security agencies have changed their erstwhile stand vis–vis the authority of the Supreme Court and the possession of the 11 prisoners kidnapped from Adiala jail. They have disowned the statement by the Attorney General submitted on their behalf a few days back questioning the jurisdiction of the apex court in such matters. The counsel for the ISI and MI has conceded that under the law and the constitution all institutions of the state, including the army, the ISI and the MI were subordinate and answerable to the court. Why the agencies had taken a different stand earlier remains to be explained. What the counsel for the agencies said on Thursday would satisfy few. He accused certain elements of playing in the hands of the enemies of the country and of defaming the ISI by maintaining that the organisation considered itself above the law. This is what was clearly implied by the brief statement before a bench of the SC by the Attorney General who being the top most law officer of the country is supposed to be a highly responsible person by no means connected with certain elements.

The ISI and MI had earlier denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the prisoners missing from Adiala jail. They have now conceded that the prisoners are in their custody. It has been maintained that they were terrorists and were taken to the terrorists hideouts by their comrades disguised as spies. They had been allegedly recovered from the terrorist camps. One of the relatives of a prisoner has questioned the account implying that the agencies had themselves taken away the prisoners from Adiala jail in violation of the law. The issue is likely to be raised when the hearing of the case starts next moth.

The Supreme Court has struggled patiently to make the agencies act in accordance with the law. The information provided by the agencies will hopefully be followed by cooperation on their part in locating a large number of other people who have over the years been made to disappear mysteriously. What the agencies need to realise is that the apex court only wants to ensure that the procedure of arrests is in conformity with the law of the land. The agencies meanwhile need to take more steps to resolve the issue of disappeared persons.