Islamabad High Court (IHC) senior judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Monday strongly criticised intelligence agencies due to their alleged role in forced abductions.

“The country will either be run as per the law or the whims of agencies,” Justice Kayani said.

The Court held a hearing regarding the recovery of Kashmiri poet Ahmed Farhad Shah, abducted from his home last week. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had called on authorities for his immediate release.

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A petition was filed by Shah’s wife in the IHC last Wednesday, requesting that he be found and produced before the court and to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for his disappearance.

In a notable development, the petitioner filed a separate plea on Saturday to withdraw the main petition after officials from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) contacted Shah’s wife and assured her that the poet would be released on Saturday night.

Petitioner’s legal representation include Advocates Imaan Zainab Mazari and Hadi Ali Chatha. Mazari said that she received a Whatsapp call from Shah’s number on May 17 asking them to withdraw their petition but since he did not return back, “So we are not withdrawing the application.”

“I want the man (Shah) from the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). You should inform the DG (director general) ISI [Nadeem Anjum] that the man should be produced at any cost. Remove the label from yourself that you abduct [people],” said the judge to SSP Zafar.

Justice Kayani went on to say “The sector commander [ISI] is not living on the moon, what is his status?”

Judge asked the defence ministry official whether any of his relatives were ever abducted to which he said no, to which the judge said: “That’s why you don’t understand. Ask the feelings of those whose [relatives] are abducted.”

When AAG Duggal requested an extension of the hearing because “the ISI has said they do not have him,” the judge replied, “They send messages on one hand and now they are saying we don’t have him.”