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'ISI is not a law-enforcement agency'

world Updated: Aug 22, 2007 11:32 IST

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ruled that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is not a law-enforcement agency or a customs authority and cannot take anyone into custody under the country's laws.

A full bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry gave the ruling on Tuesday while hearing the case of a Pakistan-born German national Aleem Nasir, who was held by the ISI on charges of smuggling precious stones, The News reported in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of Nasir and directed that all his travel documents, including passport seized by the ISI, should be provided to him so that he could return to Germany. "Under which law, Aleem was taken into custody by the agency?" the Chief Justice questioned.

Nasir, who was produced before the court, told the bench that he was arrested by the ISI from Lahore airport last month while on his way to Germany and subsequently taken to the ISI headquarters here for interrogation. He claimed that he was even threatened of handover to the United States.

The Chief Justice also ordered the release of another detainee, Hafiz Abdul Basit, who had been held captive by the security agencies for his alleged involvement in a planned attack on President Pervez Musharraf in 2004.

Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum submitted before the court that Basit was in the custody of Political Agent of the Khyber Agency and assured that efforts would be made to bring him to the capital as soon as possible and would be released.