Mystery of the ‘missing persons’ - Kamran Shafi - November 16, 2010

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IN the face of stiff opposition from lawyers representing MI5, Lady Justice Hallett, the coroner carrying out the inquest on the July 7, 2005 bombings in London that killed 52 people and badly injured tens of others, ruled on Nov 3 that she “does not have the power to consider in closed hearings secret intelligence documents which lawyers for the security services had argued would damage national security if made public”.

This has to do with the relatives of the deceased and the injured demanding answers from the security services as to why the bombers, particularly the leader Mohammad Siddiq Khan and Shehzad Tanweer (both of Pakistani descent, thank you very much, as was another of the four murderers) were not apprehended when they had been on the radar of MI5 18 months prior to the attacks.

The government in the Home Office has now decided that it will appeal Lady Justice Hallett’s ruling in the courts so that intelligence assets are not identified and therefore put at risk.

The families are of course outraged that this should happen as says the following BBC report: “Families … condemned the move by the Home Office. Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Graham Foulkes, whose son David died in the bombings, told the BBC: ‘They should be partaking in this investigation proactively, not using every way they can to avoid being part of it. It’s very, very distressful to all the families. We are all deeply, deeply upset by it’. Julie Nicholson, the mother of another victim, Jenny Nicholson, said: ‘I wish that they would work with the inquest and help the inquest as so many of these wonderful people that we are hearing stories from are helping the inquest’.”So then, MI5 has lawyers who will attempt to stop open hearings by claiming that secret files on the terrorists will expose their informants and so on. Why do I open this week’s piece with what Lady Justice Hallett has ruled in London, and on what MI5’s likely defence will be when I should be more concerned with what goes on in my own country? Simply because, whilst MI5 (and even the CIA), have defended themselves in open court, our own much feared and in-your-face intelligence agencies (and I do not mean the emasculated and over-awed-by-everyone Intelligence Bureau) consider it below their dignity to do so.

How else would you look at its operatives, probably low-ranking colonels and brigadiers, reportedly asking to see My Lord the Chief Justice of Pakistan in his chambers to explain why their organisation cannot answer questions in open court?
It is to the CJ’s credit that a three-member bench headed by himself issued orders to the chiefs of the three intelligence agencies: the ISI, MI and IB, to explain where 11 alleged terrorists were after being released, for lack of evidence, by a trial court.

Let me add here and now that I hold no brief for these people; nor do I say they are innocent. All I say is that people should not disappear off the face of the earth like numerous Pakistanis have disappeared over the last 10 years. Why don’t their families know where they are and what the charges against them are? Why do they not know whether they are alive or dead?

Let us, however, go back to the prosecution of the bad boys who are ‘captured’ now and again by our security agencies. For the umpteenth time, may one ask why it is that not one of them has been successfully prosecuted? Is it the case that the wrong persons are arrested in the first place merely to make a show of things?

Is it that the arrests are made by organisations that cannot, or will not, openly prosecute anyone, and who then spirit the accused away to safe-houses for questioning aimed at turning them into assets?

Let us go back to the Supreme Court’s order to the intelligence agencies to come clean at the earliest. The chief justice is reported to have said that the matter should be resolved soon and that “the country cannot afford a clash among the institutions”.

Let me say to the honourable CJ that we the people who protested at the superior judiciary’s emasculation at the hands of the
Commando are even now ready and willing to stand by the Supreme Court against all comers.

I might add too, that as said often enough, if federal secretaries and the chief secretary of a province of Pakistan, in this case the largest and most powerful province, can appear before the Supreme Court twice in a week so can the top bosses of the intelligence agencies, and here I do not mean only the DG of the IB, please note immediately gentlemen.

May I one more time impress upon the Deep State to stop thinking it is above the law of the land? May I one more time say to it to look at the situation as it exists on the ground, to face the facts? May I ask it one more time to rein in its hand-maidens (stand up, Mushahid ‘Mandela’ Hussain) who were all over our talk shows pooh-poohing India’s quest of a permanent seat on the Security Council? I don’t think any shame adheres to any of them, even after America’s resounding support to that country. Shamelessness of a very high order, what!

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