ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned under what law the prisoners, allegedly picked up outside the Adiala Jail, have been kept in internment centre in Parachinar.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and comprised Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed heard the petition, filed by Rohaifa, mother of three of prisoners, who died allegedly in the custody of the agencies.

According to the case, 11 prisoners were picked up by the intelligence agencies after their release from Adiala Jail. Out of them four had died in the custody, while seven are in the miserable condition in the internment centre.

Secretary Law FATA Nasir Jamal said that in view of their involvement in heinous crime their release is determined. The chief justice remarked that they have been in the internment center for over one year. The CJP asked him; “Show us the material on the basis of which their internment is warranted.” The court said that the authorities have to be accountable for the persons killed in their custody.

The Chief Justice said 1999 (Pervez Musharraf regime) like situation has altogether changed that in the name of the terrorism do whatever wanted? “Here is the matter of liberty of persons, saying they could not give blanket cover to anyone,” he said and added: “We will examine whether the custody is in violation of Article 4, 9 and 10 of the Constitution.”

The court would also have to see the rights of detainees. “Whether the internment is justified under any cannon of law,” Justice Azmat Saeed inquired from the Secretary Law FATA. “We have to see the ground realities,” he further said.

The court had asked Tariq Asad to argue on the question of jurisdiction. He said pleading on jurisdiction issue means to leave at the mercy of internment center for indefinite period. He said the Court should examine whether the internment order was in accordance with law.

Tariq Asad gave detailed briefing about the arrest and later release of the Adiala Jail prisoners. He said: “We have proof that the agencies had picked them up outside the Adiala Jail after their release.”

However, the chief justice said Raja Irshad, counsel for the intelligence agencies, version was that after the release the prisoners made their escape and were arrested from operational areas (FATA) and they had tried them under Army Act 1952.

Tariq Asad said that Army Act 1952 is a comprehensive Act but the issue is that the Adiala Jail prisoners were never presented in any court.

“First the agencies counsel said that they were subjected to Army Act but later said they have subjected them under the Act.

The chief justice asked the leaned counsel to satisfy the court on jurisdiction issue and adjourned the hearing till February 28.