ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday hearing the Adiala Jail missing prisoners case observed that unnecessarily the matter was mishandled, saying the ISI and MI counsel are playing hide and seek with the court.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprised Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that they have been hearing this case since 2010 and first the ISI and MI counsel Raja Irshad had stated before the Court that the Adiala Jail prisoner would be tried under Army Act 1952, and when found no evidence then handed them over to Political Administration Orakzai.

"We have great respect for the army as our forces have given lot of sacrifices for the protection of the country, but can't give liberty to a few individuals to indulge in unlawful activities." "We can't leave it like this as there is matter of liberty of the seven persons," adding they have also noted the death of four persons in the custody.

During the proceedings, the chief justice asked the counsel that you yourselves had said in this case that the Adiala Jail missing prisoners were allegedly picked up outside the jail and then were taken to FATA.

Raja Irshad denying this maintained that he had said that missing prisoners were arrested from the operational area in FATA when they had attacked the army convoy.

The chief justice said that first the agencies got Adiala Jail prisoners tried at the Anti-Terrorism Court. When they were released, as there was no concrete evidence against them then they were taken to Tribal Areas. The chief justice asked the learned counsel that they had opportunity to get them convicted. Raja Irshad said in the whole country the ATC never awarded sentence to any criminal so far. The chief justice remarked that there are number of cases, in which accused were convicted.

The chief justice said that they have the statement of Judge Advocate General (JAG) in which he took a stand that if there will be no evidence against the Adiala Jail prisoners for their involvement in terrorist attacks then they would be released.

The Court ordered Raja Irshad to ask the JAG appear before the bench and adjourned the hearing for two hours. After two hours the learned counsel informed that National Security Conference in the chair of Chief of Army Staff is going on in the GHQ and therefore could not contact him.

The chief justice said that Judge Advocate General (JAG) has to honour or dishonour his statement, given to the Court.

The court noted that Raja Irshad also had given a statement that Adiala Jail prisoners are no more missing persons and now they would be tried under Army Act 1952. "First they were in your (agencies) custody and you had handed them over to FATA Administration Orakzai."

Raja Irshad argued that the trial is in progress and if there would be no evidence against them then they would be released.

Earlier, Attorney General Irfan Qadir informed the that Article 247 allows the issuance of Regulation, and according to 247(4) President of Pakistan and the Governors of the Provinces are competent to issue this law, while Article 245 is for to call the army in aid of civil power.

He quoted examples of many countries were special laws have framed to combat the militancy or the terrorist activities, saying special laws exist in Israel, in India Terrorist and Destructive Act (TADA) 1987, in Australia Border and Migration Amendment 2009 and South Africa Immigration Act 2002.

The hearing was adjourned till April 15.