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‘Missing’ prisoners case: Contempt petition filed against military spokesperson

A contempt of court petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) for ‘alleged interference’ in the Adiala ‘missing’ prisoners case.
The petitioner, advocated Tariq Asad, prayed the court to initiate contempt proceedings against Maj Gen Athar Abbas for his alleged interference in a sub judice matter involving the illegal custody of 11 ‘missing’ prisoners of Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

Asad is also the lawyer for the prisoners, four of whom died while in the custody of spy agencies.
In his petition, he stated that despite the matter being sub judice with the apex court, Maj Gen Abbas had issued a press release to the media, in which he distorted facts, giving an impression that the accused were dealt with appropriately.
According to Asad, the press release stated that the prisoners were criminals involved in heinous crimes and were responsible for a large number of innocent deaths in Hamza Camp and Kamra base attacks.
The petitioner said that Maj Gen Abbas also gave contemptuous remarks on the trial courts, which, he added, is tantamount to interfering with the process of law and the due course of judicial proceedings.
He claimed that contents of the press release were false and the respondents – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) – were continuously portraying a false picture through the media to undermine the authority of trial courts and to prejudice the apex court in the administration of justice.
Asad said he had decided to file the petition after Ms Huzaifa, his client and the petitioner in the missing prisoners case, died from a heart attack on February15.
On February 13, the remaining seven missing prisoners were produced before the court. The court had directed Attorney General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq and Raja Muhammad Irshad, counsel for the ISI and MI, to submit records and statements explaining the prisoners’ detention prior to January 26, 2012.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary was also directed to collect the relevant record explaining the circumstances under which the detainees were allowed to be admitted in the Internment Centre in Parachinar.

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