Seven men allegedly held by Pakistan's feared intelligence services on Monday appeared in court, an unprecedented development following orders from the country's highest court.
The case challenges perceptions that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence operates above the law. The ISI is accused in the West of still maintaining links to the Taliban and Islamist militants, whom it historically sponsored.
The seven men appeared frail, weak, unable to talk and unable to walk properly when they appeared before chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, more than a year and a half after being allegedly arrested.
Chaudhry ordered a full medical examination. Intelligence agencies last month handed over the men to the custody of the provincial government in the northwest, after the Supreme Court took up the case.
Four of the men were reportedly held in the northwestern city of Peshawar and three in the tribal region of Parachinar near the Afghan border.
"There should be proper medical treatment and they shall not be shifted to internment centre in Parachinar, so long as the matter is pending before the court," Chaudhry said.
"A medical board shall be constituted to examine their health," he added.
Lawyer Tariq Asad, who represented the detainees, said the court ordered the ISI and Military Intelligence to submit details at the next hearing on March 1 about their detention and under which law they were held.
"The report will contain details about what happened to them during their detention over one year and a half and whether any trial took place," he said.