Will spy agencies run this country or law? IHC questions in missing poet case

“Does the [ISI] sector commander live on the moon? questions Justice Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani

Awais Yousafzai
May 20, 2024
Will spy agencies run this country or law? IHC questions in missing poet case
A general view of the Islamabad High Court. — Geo News

Irked at authorities’ failure to recover missing Kashmiri poet and journalist Ahmed Farhad Shah, Islamabad High Court’s Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Monday questioned whether spy agencies would run the country or the law.

The poet was allegedly abducted from his house last week. On May 15, his wife moved the IHC seeking his recovery. She also requested the court to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for his disappearance.

At the outset of today’s hearing, a representative of the Ministry of Defence apprised the court: “Hostage [Shah] is not with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).”

The official further said that the ISI was refuting the allegation about its involvement in the enforced disappearance of the poet.

At this, the judge remarked: “Now the matter has gone beyond the jurisdiction of the ISI and the Military Intelligence (MI). They are telling about their failure.”

Justice Kayani directed the defence secretary to submit its report to the high court in writing. The judge ordered the defence and interior secretaries to appear before the court today.

The judge further said that he would also summon Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the cabinet members in the case later.

“This matter is not so simple and easy. An example has to be set in this case.”

The judge further stated: “They [spy agencies] are sending messages [to the family] but on the other hand they were saying that the person is not in their custody.”

The law enforcement agencies have failed to recover the abducted person, he added.

“Does the sector commander live on the moon? What’s his stature? He’s an 18th-grade officer, who should stay within his [constitutional] limits. Do not follow them, the country can run without them.”

The court directed the investigation officer to record the sector commander’s statement and submit it to the court on Tuesday.

Justice Kiyani further said that he would dismiss the petition if the missing poet was a terrorist or nominated in any case.

Meanwhile, an additional attorney general apprised the court that an FIR had been lodged and the police were carrying out investigations.

At this, the judge reminded the additional attorney about the police’s duties and asked if lodging an FIR was a favour.

According to media reports, during the previous hearing, Justice Kayani noted that "there is a dire need for a law that entails the death penalty" for those behind enforced disappearances.

During his interaction with journalists in the IHC, AAG Munawar Iqbal said that it was a case of abduction but not about illegal confinement. The police were investigating the matter.

“In the Shehnaz BiBi case, the court had set a rule that it would not interfere in the investigation.”

The court will be further assisted in this regard, he added.