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Pak SC hauls up spy chiefs

world Updated: Nov 12, 2010 20:13 IST

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Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday hauled up the chiefs of three main spy agencies for their failure to trace the whereabouts of 11 men reported missing from a prison after their acquittal by an anti-terrorism court.

The apex court ordered the heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau to provide by November 25 information they have on 11 men reported missing from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail after their acquittal in several terrorism cases, including a plot to attack former President Pervez Musharraf.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, which is hearing a case regarding the missing men, issued the notices to the chiefs of spy agencies after Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq informed the court that authorities had no information on the men. Haq said the authorities were unable to trace the missing men.

During the proceedings, the Chief Justice said the court should not be forced to take harsh steps as there is evidence about who is holding the missing men.

The bench observed that everyone should respect the court, which is responsible for safeguarding its constitutional obligations.

The Chief Justice asked the government's top legal officer to meet the intelligence officials and to convince them that all stakeholders have to work together on this issue.

The top judge remarked that there should not be any clash between institutions of the state and all stakeholders should work together to tackle the issue.

After a brief adjournment, the Attorney General again told the court that he had no information on the missing men. At this stage, the bench issued notices to the chiefs of the three intelligence agencies.

On Wednesday, the apex court had given the Attorney General two days to hold meetings with authorities to deliberate on ways to trace the men reported missing from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

The court has been hearing a petition asking it to direct authorities to trace Niaz Ahmed, Mazharul Haq, Shafiqur Rehman, Mohammad Aamir, Abdul Majid, Abdul Basit, Abdul Saboor, Shafique Ahmed, Said Arab, Gul Roze and Tehseenullah, who were acquitted of several charges, including a plot to attack former President Musharraf, possession of suicide jackets and attacks on military installations.