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ISI political cell ordered shut

The Pakistan Supreme Court has declared the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)’s notorious political cell, if it did, or does, exist, as illegal.

world Updated: Jul 17, 2012 23:14 IST

The Pakistan Supreme Court has declared the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)’s notorious political cell, if it did, or does, exist, as illegal.

The apex court gave the declaration even as the government was reportedly unwilling to produce evidence of the existence of the cell. It adjudged the political cell ‘void ab initio’ — meaning ‘null and void from the start’, reports The Express Tribune.

The decision was taken in a petition, commonly referred to as the Asghar Khan petition, dealing with the intelligence agencies’ direct manipulation of the 1990 general elections.

Despite repeated orders by the court during past hearings in the case, the attorney general failed to produce the notification under which the political wing of the ISI was allegedly established in May 1975.

During Monday’s proceedings, the court had once again asked the attorney general for the notification. On another failure to produce it, a three-member bench, headed by chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, took its own action.

Defence secretary Nargis Sethi told the court that she had tried her best to find the notification issued by her ministry, but failed to trace it.

She also assured the court that she would direct officials from both sides (defence and cabinet ministries) to find the required notification.