Missing persons’ case: Lahore High Court issues notice to major general

Published: September 26, 2013

Army official given till October 8 to reply. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: 

The Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench has issued a notice to a serving major general on Wednesday in a missing persons case, giving him time till October 8 to reply.

Justice Abdus Sami Khan issued the notice after Kulsoom, wife of the missing naib subedar Ilyas, filed a petition that despite court orders the army is not allowing her to meet her husband.

In the petition filed by Kulsoom’s counsel Col (retd) Inam, the court was informed that neither the detainee’s trial had begun nor were his family members allowed to meet him.

The counsel submitted that when Kulsoom went to the RA Bazaar Police Station to get her complaint registered, the SHO refused to register an FIR against a serving military officer.

He also told the court that, according to the Supreme Court’s order, an FIR can be registered against serving military officers in cases pertaining to civilian matters. He cited precedence by submitting that recently an FIR has been registered against Major Haider, an officer of the military intelligence in missing person case, and the generals in NLC scandal.

The naib subedar, a serving officer, went missing on April 2011 and the then Jhelum DPO, Tayyeb Hafeez Cheema, after being summoned by Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu to recover him, produced a report stating that the officer was in the army custody.

On March 18, 2011, Justice Dar asked the DPO to go and collect the detainee but he informed the court that Ilyas had been arrested for allegedly embezzling Rs400 million.

The case was then taken by Justice Ibadur Rahman Lodhi who ordered the army to produce Ilyas before the court but they did not comply, citing security reasons.

Afterwards, the court asked for the evidence of the alleged corruption but the army replied that he has been detained for taking kickbacks from companies. The court asked for the names of the companies but that order, too, was not complied with.

Justice Rahman then issued an order asking the Commandant CMH Major General Salahuddin to allow Ilyas’s family to meet him but when the family went there, they found that Ilyas was not there in his cell.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Col (retd) Inam said that Ilyas’s term had been completed and he retired on March 4, 2012. But after the lapse of six months, his retirement was cancelled under the Army Act. The army then informed the court that they would try Ilyas in a military court.

Earlier, the detainee had served in Siachen where he had developed serious health complications, Inam said. He added that the army is bound to inform the person about the charges that led to his arrest and his trial must be started within eight days. He should be released on bail if his trial starts after 32 days of the arrest.

“But after one year, neither has a charge sheet been framed nor his trial started,” the counsel said.

He said the naib subedar has not been paid even his pension so far. “He has four daughters whose education has discontinued due to financial constraints.”

Justice Mazhar Iqbal issued a stay order barring the army from proceeding against Ilyas till the filing of comments before the court.

Missing retired major

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued notices to Ministry of Defence on a petition seeking recovery of a retired major of Pakistan Army Mujahid Azeem and his son Ali Tariq. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial passed the orders on a petition moved by family of the missing persons.

The petitioner through counsel said in his petition that the retired major has been missing for the last three months. When they approached the LHC for his recovery, the major’s son Ali Tariq also disappeared.

The lawyer argued that the security agencies had failed to recover both the persons even after three months. He requested the court to issue directions to the police and other security agencies to recover both the missing persons.

A deputy attorney general requested the court to allow some time to file reply on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The court accepted the request and adjourned hearing for two weeks.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2013.

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