Missing persons: Provincial law officer disputes Rangers’ contention

Rangers tell SHC that it ‘goes waste once they hand over case to the police’.

Zeeshan Mujahid August 31, 2012

KARACHI: Disputing a statement by the Deputy Attorney-General that Rangers have limited powers, the Prosecutor-General of Sindh, Shahadat Awan, on Thursday submitted before a division bench of the Sindh High Court that the paramilitary force shall exercise powers under Police Act, given to them since 1995.

The Prosecutor-General, appearing on a court notice, made this submission before division bench, comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah, in one of the over three dozen petitions pertaining to citizens who went missing after they were allegedly taken into custody by the law enforcement agencies.

Some of the petitions are pending since 2010 and one of the leading lawyers in these petitions, Maqboolur Rahman, fell prey to terrorists a year back but his name still appears on the cause list of the court showing him as counsel for petitioner women, wives and brothers of missing persons.

During the hearing of an identical petition about four men who went missing two years ago, DIG Investigations, Bashir Ahmed, complained that mobile phone companies, NADRA and other agencies having data hesitate from cooperating and are unwilling to provide necessary details which can help trace the missing persons. He also complained of non-cooperation from private commercial banks in respect of either missing persons or accused.

Appearing for Pakistan Rangers, a federal government law officer denied involvement of the Pakistan Rangers in respect of missing men, Muhammad Amin, Sher Afzal, Sheeraz and Muhammad Faisal. He also submitted that two Rangers officials, namely Sher Afsar and Riaz Tamman, were no more in the service of Pakistan Rangers and have since been shunted out.

He also denied that the Pakistan Rangers had any nexus with the alleged custody of missing persons and said that Rangers have no powers and “as soon as they hand over a person to police, entire effort goes waste.”

Shahadat Awan promptly disputed the submissions by the Deputy Attorney-General and said that the Rangers were enjoying police powers since 1995.

“They should exercise all powers and follow entire procedure right from arrest, preparing papers regarding arrests, memo of seizure and statement to police under section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code,” said the Prosecutor-General adding that “this is necessary for improved investigation and proper prosecution so that no case fails.”

In yet another petition, the bench was informed that a missing man, Mudassir, has been recovered. The victim told the bench that he was blind-folded by men who whisked him away from his home and after detaining him for days, they dumped him in Shah Faisal Colony.

AIG Legal, focal person representing Inspector General of Police and area police officer, told the bench that Mudassir was not required in any case.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2012.


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