Pakistan's Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on Wednesday hauled up the country's intelligence agencies for involvement in activities that were not part of their mandate.
Chaudhry made the remarks as a three-judge bench resumed hearing a petition filed by former air force chief Asghar Khan against the funding of politicians by the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to rig the 1990 general election.
The chief justice asked former ISI chief Asad Durrani if he admitted to distributing funds to the politicians.
Durrani replied that he was the head of the intelligence agency at the time but had not involved others in the distribution of money.
Chaudhry then observed that intelligence agencies were involved in activities that are beyond their mandate.
The chief justice read out a newspaper report which alleged that Rs 270 million was withdrawn from the Intelligence Bureau's secret fund to change the government in Punjab province in 2009, and remarked that this was not part of the work of the intelligence agency.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, a member of the bench, referred to intelligence agencies and remarked that some people think they alone knew how Pakistan should be run.
The chief justice further remarked that national interests were very important and no compromise could be made on them but this did not mean that the agencies could exceed their mandate.
The bench asked attorney general Anwar-ul-Haq to help the Supreme Court to end the political role of intelligence agencies.
The judges asked Haq to tell the court how the political role of intelligence agencies had been ended in other countries.