ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police have registered a case against the Directors General and Deputy Directors of the ISI and Military Intelligence on the charge of kidnapping a member of a banned group, according to a media report on Tuesday.
This is first case in the country's history to be registered against senior military officers serving in intelligence agencies, The News daily reported.
The case regarding the kidnapping of Hizb-ut-Tahrir spokesman Naveed Butt was registered by his wife Saadia Rahat at Liaquatabad police station in Lahore on June 26.
Though the FIR was sealed, a copy was obtained by Geo News channel, which like The News is part of the Jang media group.
In the FIR, the Directors General and Deputy Directors of the ISI and Military Intelligence, based in Rawalpindi and Lahore, were named as the accused. Ten to 15 unidentified persons allegedly kidnapped Butt from outside his house on May 11 and took him to an unknown place, the FIR said. Superintendent of Police Athar Waheed was removed from active duties and made an officer on special duty for registering the FIR, the report said.
The daily quoted police sources as saying that nobody got an inkling of the FIR and no copies were sent to any other office.
Mr Waheed is the same officer who had refused to arrest political workers in Gujranwala during the movement by lawyers and civil society activists to restore judges who were sacked in 2007 by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Mr Waheed once had an altercation with security officials guarding the former premier, Mr Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Ms Saadia Rahat opined that she had contacted the Chief Justice, Mr Iqbal Hameedur Rehman of the Islamabad High Court, who admonished police in Lahore and ordered them to recover Butt at the earliest.
The Chief Justice, Mr Rehman also referred the case to Mr Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who gave 15 days to police to recover Butt. This period will expire on August 10. Butt is yet to be traced.
Mr Umar Hayat Sindhu, the senior lawyer, who represented Saadia Rahat in IHC while talking to ‘The News’ said that it is wrong to say that an FIR could not be registered against the intelligence agencies chiefs. He said that everyone is equal under law and no office immune from the implementation of law.
“If an FIR could be registered against the Prime Minister of the country, who is the real head of ISI, how the ISI DG could be immune from such an action. This is all absurd. Those who say that it could not be done should give the reference of law and Constitution under which it is not possible,” opined Mr Umar Hayat Sindhu. Later he admitted that police usually are unable to act against agencies, so there is severe need of some legislation to make some forum which could hold agencies and spy masters answerable and accountable.
He further said that it is unfortunate that our legislature has failed to do something on this count despite the fact that the issue of missing persons is one decade old now. He said that even the present government did nothing regarding any legislation in this regard.
Mr Raja Irshad, a senior lawyer, who represented the ISI in many cases, when approached by the paper, said that registering of FIR against the DG ISI and DG MI is a ‘wrongful and ‘illegal act’.
Mr Raja Irshad was of the view that police cannot register an FIR against the chiefs of intelligence agencies in any case. “If there is some complaints by a complainant regarding forced abduction of someone, and it is alleged that some agencies have abducted that person, police can register a general FIR without naming anybody but that too after investigations and getting some relevant evidence.”
Mr Raja said adding: “The act of registering an FIR and naming top officials without having any evidence is uncalled for.”