Pak SC declares ISI political cell 'null and void’



Islamabad: The Pakistan Supreme Court has declared the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)''s notorious political cell, if it did, or does, exist, as illegal.

The apex court gave the declaration even as the government was reportedly unwilling to produce evidence of the existence of the cell. It adjudged the political cell ''void ab initio''- meaning, ''null and void from the start'', reports The Express Tribune.

The decision was taken in a petition, commonly referred to as the Asghar Khan petition, dealing with the intelligence agencies'' direct manipulation of the 1990 general elections.

Despite repeated orders by the court during past hearings in the case, the attorney general failed to produce the notification under which the political wing of the ISI was allegedly established in May 1975.

During Monday's proceedings, the court had once again asked the attorney general for the notification. On another failure to produce it, a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, took its own action.

Meanwhile, Lt General (retd) Assad Durrani handed over a summary put before the relevant authorities for the creating of a political cell in the ISI. Qadir told the court that nothing substantive was found in the document.

Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi told the court that she had tried her best to find the notification issued by her ministry, but failed to trace it.

She also assured the court that she would direct officials from both sides (defence and cabinet ministries) to find the required notification, adding that since it had been 38 years since the notification was issued, it was not easy to trace the record.

ANI