It has been said that a mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. Such is the case of Syed Abdul Saboor, whose mother even after his death has not given up hope in seeking justice for him and his two brothers still under detention.
Along with his two brothers, Saboor was facing a court martial under the Army Act on charges of attacking the GHQ and ISI Hamza Camp before he died mysteriously on January 21, a brother of the deceased told The Express Tribune.
Saboor’s ailing mother Rohifa filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Jan 6, making a heartrending appeal to the highest court in the land to order intelligence agencies to immediately kill her sons and hand over their bodies to her if superior courts could not provide relief to common citizens of the country. The petition challenged the trial under the Army Act of her three sons who had earlier been acquitted by an anti-terrorism court of criminal charges.
Rohifa’s counsel Advocate Tariq Asad insists that the petition seeking due process for the brothers be heard. Asad believes that their right to trial was being violated along with their right to life. However, the Supreme Court Registrar’s office thinks differently. It says that the petitions should be filed at an appropriate forum and since the matter pertained to individual rights, it fell out of the ambit of Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
Abdul Saboor, 29, is the fourth civilian detained in the case to have died under mysterious circumstances over the past six months — Mohammad Aamir died on Aug 15, last year, Tahseen Ullah on Dec 17, and Said Arab on Dec 18.
Advocate Asad said that when he had filed the petition for their recovery, he had already expressed fears about their unnatural death. In December 2011, when the court was hearing a petition for the recovery of the three brothers, the Military Intelligence told the court that the detainees were in their custody and they had been kept “in accordance with the law”.
In the petition, Advocate Asad pointed out that the bodies of three detainees who had died earlier during investigation, showed clear signs of acute renal failure (ARF) apparently caused by slow poisoning.
The petitioner requested the court to seek a report on the causes of deaths of the detainees and the record of proceedings against the survivors. Invoking article 184(3) of the Constitution, Advocate Asad, said, “The matter is of public importance and there is apprehension of deaths of the remaining eight surviving detainees”
The petitioner said her sons Abdul Saboor, Abdul Basit and Abdul Majid were in the business of publication of the Holy Quran and religious books in Lahore’s Urdu Bazaar. They were taken to a police station by the then SHO of Shafiqabad on Nov 25, 2007, from where they went missing.
A petition was filed in the Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court for their release and during the hearing she was informed that three cases had been registered against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act, along with four others.
All the accused were acquitted by the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi on April 8, 2008, because the prosecution could not make out a case against them. But before their release, the Rawalpindi DCO issued a detention order under Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance. It was extended for 90 days by the Punjab home secretary on May 6, 2010.
A habeas corpus petition was filed in the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench. The court set aside both the orders on May 28, 2010, and ordered the release of the detainees.
Rohifa, however, alleged that instead of complying with the court order, the superintendent of jail in Rawalpindi handed over the detainees to the ISI and MI, which took them to an unspecified place. The petitioner said the judge advocate general had informed the apex court on May 2 last year that the detainees had been formally arrested in the first week of April and a case under Section 2 (1) (d) of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, registered against them.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.
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