The Punjab government assured the Lahore High Court (LHC) that the families of Faizan and Faheem, victims of the Qurtaba Chowk shooting by CIA contractor Raymond Davis, will be presented before the court on May 23.
Representing the government, Assistant Advocate General Punjab Nayer Abbas Rizvi said that both families would be presented before court at the next hearing of a petition seeking the recovery and liberty of the families.
The petition filed by Advocate Malik Munsif Awan stated that the families had been missing since Davis was pardoned on March 16, 2011, in exchange for blood-money.
Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sindhu earlier had questioned the maintainability of the petition, asking whether the petitioner was a relative of the alleged missing family.
Advocate Azhar Siddique, counsel for the petitioner, replied that under Article 199 of the Constitution, anyone could file a habeas corpus petition. The counsel further said that both federal and provincial governments had failed to recover the missing families and were intentionally delaying the court proceedings. He said on one pretext or the other, the government was trying to prolong the case and to waste the court’s time.
The petitioner submitted that both families had gone missing after the release of Davis in the double murder case. He apprehended that somebody had kidnapped them and kept them under illegal detention. He submitted that according to the media, the families had received Rs200 million in blood money, which could put their lives in danger.
He said there were also apprehensions that they had been forced to accept the blood money for Davis’s release. He requested the court to summon the authorities concerned and direct them to recover the families and present them before the court.
The family of Faheem is said to be living secretly in Faisalabad, where they have purchased a house. The family of Zahra Faizan, wife of the deceased, is living in Islamabad in a rented house. The family also has been visiting their house in Ferozewala, near Shahdara, but went back into hiding after finding out that the media was pursuing them.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2011.