SC censures intelligence agency for failing to provide financial details of Faizabad sit-in leaders
[DAWN] The Supreme Court on Friday criticised the country's premier intelligence agency for failing to provide the financial details of leaders of the Faizabad sit-in, rejecting a report submitted by the agency in this regard.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam had resumed hearing a suo motu
...a legal term, from the Latin. Roughly translated it means
I saw what you did, you bastard...
case regarding the 20-day sit-in held at the Faizabad interchange in Islamabad/Rawalpindi by the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistain's (TLP) in November 2017. Justice Qazi Faez Isa was the other member of the bench.
"Does the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence
...the Pak military
intelligence agency that controls the military -- heads of ISI typically get promoted into the Chief of Army Staff position. It serves as a general command center for favored turban groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, tries to influence the politix of neighboring countries, and carries out a (usually) low-level war against India in Kashmir...
] function under the law?" Justice Isa asked during the hearing, observing that the agency had said in a report it was not its job to obtain certain details of the Faizabad sit-in leaders' finances.
He said the protest sit-in had caused losses of billions and that the court wanted to know whether the persons "who can bring thousands of people" to the sit-in pay taxes.
"Can the ISI not even find out about the bank account of a person?" the judge wondered. He said the agency had said in response to the court's query that it could not furnish income tax details of the protest leaders and that it could be provided by the Federal Board of Revenue.
Justice Isa said if these things did not fall in the purview of the agency "then when [in the future] ISI interferes in other matters, we will ask: 'is this ISI's job?'."
The bench then wondered if it should summon the director general of the ISI or the defence secretary for an explanation.
Brigadier Falak Naz, the director of Ministry of Defence's law branch, said the agency could be asked to obtain the requisite details if the court so orders. "ISI looks after the national security [of the country]," he added.
"Is the sit-in not a matter of national security?" Justice Isa retorted, observing that the ISI was subservient to the country's law and Constitution.
The bench subsequently rejected the third report on the sit-in submitted by the ISI, and two other reports by the Election Commission of Pakistain (ECP) and the Pakistain Electronic Media Regularity Authority (Pemra).
The intelligence agency, ECP and Pemra were directed to submit new reports as the hearing was adjourned until next Thursday.
The court also directed the attorney general and information secretary to appear at the next hearing.
In November 2017, TLP workers demanding the resignation of then law minister Zahid Hamid had staged a weeks-long sit-in at the Faizabad interchange that had virtually paralysed the federal capital and led to several people losing their lives.
|Posted by Fred 2018-11-17 00:00||
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