Fresh plea allowed for release of Adiala inmates
By: Azam Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the counsel for 11 ‘missing’ persons of Adiala Jail to file a fresh petition following the demise of petitioner Rohaifa Bibi, mother of three of the detainees, for their release from different internment centres across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Three of the 11 prisoners have already died in custody.
Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir and counsel for Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence Raja Muhammad Irshad raised no objections over the ruling.
In a related case, a three-member bench issued notices to respondents of identical petitions pertaining to the Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011. The act, approved by President Asif Ali Zardari on the advice of the prime minister last year, allows any authorised military or civil armed forces officer to detain a person whose internment is “expedient for peace” in the defined area. The defined area is any area demarcated by the governor of the relevant province where the controversial regulation is enforced.
The petitioners, one of whom is Jamaat-i-Islami provincial chief Professor Muhammad Ibrahim, questioned the authority of K-P’s civil administration in tribal areas under the said law. Upon the bench’s request, the petitions were clubbed with the plea moved by the (late) Rohaifa Bibi for the release of her two sons currently detained in an internment centre in Landi Kotal.
During the proceedings, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the court could deliberate over the regulation and decide each case on merit. “If an act carved out by political parties can be extended to federally and provincially administer tribal areas, then issues of fundamental rights – be they anywhere – can be considered by the court.”
Justice Chaudhry also expressed doubts over the implementation of the court’s verdict in case it issues an order asking to release the detained men. The prisoners are Dr Niaz Ahmed, Mazharul Haq, Shafiqur Rehman, Muhammad Aamir, Abdul Majid, Abdul Basit, Abdul Saboor, Shafique Ahmed, Said Arab, Gul Roze and Tehseenullah.
Among them Abdul Saboor and Muhammad Aamir have died in custody.