Followed by more than a week of protests, two judges kidnapped in Balochistan were released by their captors on Tuesday.
Sessions Judge Jan Mohammad Gohar Yasinzai and Civil Judge Mohammad Ali Kakar were going to Usta Mohammad to attend a wedding, when a group of armed men intercepted them and whisked them away near Jaffarabad district. The men were found in the Jhal Magsi area of Nasirabad Division.
Addressing a news conference, Commissioner Nasirabad division Hyder Ali Sheku said the police, levies and other law enforcement agencies have launched a massive crackdown against groups responsible for kidnapping for ransom. Fifty-one suspects have been rounded up, he said.
The commissioner ruled out that the families of the two judges had paid any ransom to the kidnappers. “The law enforcement agencies carried out a search operation, which pressurised and forced the kidnappers to release the judges,” he said, adding that there was no exchange of fire between the kidnappers and law enforcers.
Security has been beefed up across Nasirabad Division and all levies checkpoints situated on national highway were restored in order to curb fresh cases of kidnappings, he added. Four lawyers are still listed as missing from different parts of Balochistan. Munir Ahmed Mirwani advocate was kidnapped from Khuzdar some 10 months ago, while Agha Zahir Shah Advocate was whisked away last month. The whereabouts of the two are still not known. Families of both lawyers blame the security forces for hostage-taking, while the relatives of two other lawyers say the abductions were a case of kidnapping for ransom.
“We have approached tribal elders of the area for the recovery of the lawyers,” a relative of the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, two lower court judges were given a warm welcome when they reached the high court building in the afternoon where the chief justice and another senior judge of the high court received them.
According to officials, both judges were kept in the same place where kidnapped police personnel were detained. The local administration got the clue and put pressure on the kidnappers, who were compelled to release them.
At a reception, both judges thanked the lawyers’ community, judiciary and the media for playing a positive role in securing their release.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2011.
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