SHC summons Sindh’s FIA chief in missing persons’ cases

Court expresses annoyance with IO and FIA over failure to produce travel histories


Ppi March 08, 2019
Sindh High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) expressed on Thursday its annoyance over the failure of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in providing travel history of missing persons to police and directed the Sindh FIA director-general (DG) to personally appear in the court on March 10 along with the records.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto and comprising Justice KK Agha, gave these directives while hearing a number of petitions about missing persons filed by their families. The bench said that it was observed in most cases that FIA had not provided the travel history to investigation officers probing the missing persons' cases.

"The FIA DG shall look into the matter personally, as well as appropriate orders in this regard shall be passed," said Justice Phulpoto. "Unfortunately, police have failed to trace missing persons," remarked Justice Phulpoto, adding that the families of missing persons were crying and wailing before the court and police had no mercy on the affected families of missing persons.

SHC displeased with authorities’ failure to recover missing persons

"Investigation Officer (IO) Aftab Alam should be sent to prison as he did not implement the court orders," the bench remarked. The bench said that it had ordered to seek the help of print and electronic media in the cases of missing men. "Where are the published advertisements?" the bench asked the IO.

Alam requested for more time to get advertisements for the missing persons published.  The bench told the IO not to get irritated and recover missing persons as soon as possible.

The judges referred to the case of a 70-year-old petitioner who appeared very disturbed as his son had been missing for the past many years, but the IO of the case had still not been able to collect his foreign travel history from the FIA as well as from detention and internment centres of the country.

The IO contended that he had written several letters to the FIA asking for the travel history but to no avail. The bench then ordered the Sindh FIA DG to appear in court on March 10 and asked the Karachi Police chief as well to look into the cases of missing persons.

Expressing their dissatisfaction, the judges observed that the provincial task force, constituted to help resolve the cases of missing persons, had only gone through formalities and not performed its duty well.

They asked the provincial home secretary to supervise missing persons' cases and pass orders to the IOs. The bench summoned DG FIA, the head of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and Provincial Task Force (PTF) in next hearing.  The court sought an updated report from police, Rangers and home department pertaining to the recovery of missing persons. It also sought full record of travel history, and concentration centers of missing citizens from institutions.

Fake degree case

Another two-member bench, comprising Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Faisal Agha, of the high court sought on Thursday educational certificates of Sindh Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla in a fake degree case.

The bench was hearing the petition filed by a citizen, Abdul Qayoom, against Chawla for allegedly having a fake degree. Counsels for Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), education board and other respondents appeared before the court.

As the hearing began, the respondents sought time to present the minister's educational certificates. The court granted the plea and directed them to appear before the court along with evidence. It adjourned the hearing of the case till April 3.

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The petitioner had requested the court to disqualify Chawla claiming that he used the educational testimonials of Mukesh Kumar Bansari, hailing from Sajawal, while submitting his nomination papers with the ECP. The petitioner claimed that Chawla's date of birth is 1974, but the person whose degree was provided to the ECP was born in 1980.

He appealed that Chawla should be disqualified from public office as he is no more Sadiq and Ameen. In 2010, the Hyderabad Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education had officially confirmed to the University of Sindh that no person by the name of Mukesh Kumar Chawla, had passed classes X and XII examinations held by the board.

The board said in response to the university's queries had said that one Mukesh Kumar Bansari had appeared in matriculation and intermediate examinations and Chawla's particulars had been sent for verification. The verification was conducted after a man, Jaey Kumar, had challenged Mukesh Kumar Chawla's election as member of provincial assembly and sent a formal complaint to the Supreme Court, requesting it to take suo motu action.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2019.

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