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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Adiala’s missing inmates: Convince us on issue of jurisdiction, says SC

Adiala’s missing inmates: Convince us on issue of jurisdiction, says SC

Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE
A stiff challenge awaits the counsel for seven men detained in Parachinar, Kurram Agency after they, along with four others, went missing from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Their counsel will have to convince the Supreme Court beyond reasonable doubt that the court can exercise its jurisdiction in the tribal areas.
A three-member bench, comprising of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ijaz Afzal and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed deferred the case till February 28 and directed Advocate Tariq Asad to convince them how they could exercise the court’s jurisdiction in the tribal areas.
As far as Attorney General Irfan Qadir is concerned, the apex court has no jurisdiction in the tribal areas, as the seven men detained at an internment centre in Parachinar will be tried under the Frontier Crime Regulations, 1901.
The lawyer representing them tried to highlight what he termed “inhuman treatment” meted out to his clients, but the bench directed him to first explain to the court whether it could exercise its jurisdiction and establish the maintainability of the petitions in the apex court.
On the other hand, Federally Administered Tribal Areas Secretary Jamal Nasir failed to muster a reply when the apex court asked him what evidence was available on record to detain and keep the men at the internment centre.
Last year, the army handed over the seven men to tribal authorities after they were suspected of attacking an army convoy. Weapons were also recovered from their possession.
Four of the 11 men died allegedly in the custody of the army after they were picked up from Adiala Jail by intelligence agencies.
They were kept in the custody of intelligence agencies from May 2010 to January 2012 and were not tried under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.
The survivors moved the Supreme Court with applications for medical treatment and pleaded for their release on grounds of health and their innocence.
The detainees went missing from Adiala Jail in May 2010 after they were acquitted by an anti-terrorism court. They were acquitted in 209 cases, including allegations of attacking an Inter-Services Intelligence bus and the General Headquarters gate in November 2007.
They were also exonerated of charges of carrying out an anti-aircraft gun attack on former president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s plane and launching a rocket attack on the aeronautical complex of Kamra in Attock.