Giving out a stern warning against the pick, kill and dump incidents, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday directed the ministry of defence to retrieve missing persons within 24 hours — saying that it could be forced to take severe action if the orders are not complied with.
“As a last resort, the ministry of defence is directed to retrieve missing persons from the clutches of the military intelligence otherwise the court would be constrained to take action under both the civil and military law,” said PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan.
The PHC CJ issued these orders while hearing a habeas corpus petition before a division bench which was also accompanied by Justice Sajjad Hassan Shah.
During the case hearing, the bench was informed that Hafiz Jalil Ahmad, a resident of Izatabad Mardan, had been allegedly picked up by security agencies accompanied by the local police and an official of the Military Intelligence (MI) Major Shabbir during a joint raid on February 27, 2012.
The PHC CJ expressed deep concerns over the alleged enforced disappearance and said that such practices should be stopped otherwise the “court would be constrained to lay hand on the special law (Aid in Civil Power Regulation 2011)”.
“Tell them (security agencies) in a clear manner to trace out the man and produce him before the court. Every accused arrested shall be produced before the area magistrate within 24 hours,” he ordered.
The court also issued a show cause notice to Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Imtiaz Altaf to submit his reply on why the police had been indulging in illegal activities of detaining people despite court orders that police would never assist security agencies during such raids. The court asked the CCPO to personally enquire and assist the court on why Qari Shafi, had been allegedly picked up by the police.
Shafi and Younas, both Afghan nationals, had been allegedly picked up by Assistant Sub-Inspector Shaukat and Station House Officer Abidur Rehman from Batatal check post on February 25, 2011.
The bench was then informed that Mufti Haroon Rashid had been allegedly picked up by security agencies from Dera Ismail Khan in 2010.
The court asked the petitioner Muhammad Ismail, Rashid’s father, to submit an application at the internment centre so that he could meet Haroon. The bench also issued instructions to the in charge of the internment centre to identify why Haroon had been detained.
Case proceedings of a total of seventeen cases pertaining to alleged enforced disappearance were held at the court on Tuesday and all the cases were adjourned for July 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2012.