The Peshawar High Court (PHC) expressed its concerns that the law and order situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was volatile despite the presence of army and paramilitary forces.
PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan, while heading a division bench with Justice Irshad Qaisar, expressed his concerns after being told that 12 Wapda employees, allegedly abducted by militants on January 31, had been shifted to Tirah valley of Khyber Agency.
Additional Advocate General Iqbal Durrani informed the court that the employees had been picked up while fixing electricity pylons destroyed by militants in Shaikhan area in Badhber. He added that the government had been negotiating with the militants and was ready to pay ransom.
“The government is ready to pay the ransom but the militants have been demanding the release of some of their convicted and detained associates,” Durrani said.
The court ordered Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Fata to explain in writing as to why the situation cannot be normalised despite security forces being present in the tribal areas.
While hearing a petition filed by Rahimullah, the PHC gave the political administration Khyber a last chance to release a detained person.
The petitioner told the court that his relative went missing on March 15, 2009 along with Habibullah, who is the driver of former political agent Tariq Hayat. Although Habibullah reached home, Rahimullah’s relative never returned.
“We strongly believe that the other detainee is also in custody of the PA. It is the last chance for him to release the detainee forthwith or bring convincing record to start trial against the detainee.”
In another petition, Abid Ghani alleged that SHO Sarband Abidur Rehman picked up Younas and Shafi, both Afghan nationals, from Batatal check post on February 25, 2011. Although Younas was released, Shafi is still missing.
However, Abidur Rehman said: “The day these two people were picked up, I was in Badhber. I have the transfer and posting documents.” The court has asked him to produce the documents.
A total of 25 cases pertaining to enforced disappearance were heard at the PHC on Wednesday and most of the cases were adjourned for August 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2012.