A seven-day deadline was given to the police by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to close all private detention centres in the Hayatabad area on Tuesday, while hearing missing persons cases.
In addition, the PHC issued instructions to the home secretary for the second time to produce the minutes of the apex committee meeting held to discuss the missing persons issue or to appear in person at the next hearing. The court also issued notices to three police officials for failing to implement court orders.
Earlier, Jandad Hussain, a resident of Karkhano, had alleged that the Hayatabad SHO Rajab Ali had kept his child, a student of the fifth grade, Iqbal Hussain in illegal custody. Jandad also alleged that Ali was running illegal detention centres in Hayatabad.
PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, while chairing a divisional bench along with Justice Waqar Seth, issued notices to Ali as well as the Cantt SP and the Circle DSP. Ali, however, denied all the allegations.
“We don’t have any illegal detention centres and why would we run illegal detention centres? Why would I keep a minor in illegal custody?” Ali said.
Chief Justice Khan, however, remained sceptical, saying: “We have strong proof. Do not adopt the style of the security agencies,” while ordering that all such centres must be shut down within one week.
The court also accepted the bail request of Iqbal’s brother, Saddam Hussain, who has been under the custody of the political administration of the Khyber Agency, and ordered that his case be shifted from Khyber Agency to Peshawar.
The political administration’s counsel informed the court that Saddam was apprehended by the Khasadar force of Jamrud, Khyber Agency when the Hayatabad police informed them that someone had snatched a car in the Hayatabad area from a resident of the locality.
Additional Advocate General Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Naveed Akhtar informed the court that the Hayatabad police chased Saddam but he escaped to the tribal areas where the police could not chase him – which is why the political administration apprehended Saddam.
The court, while hearing another missing persons’ case, disposed of Abdul Aziz’s plea after he reached home safely.
Aziz, a resident of Bara, Khyber Agency and a student of ninth grade, had earlier gone missing from the agency on October 15, 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2012.