Gomal Zam Dam case: Court summons MNAs of North, South Waziristan

Bench says it’s difficult to identify the abductors, locals to be mobilised for negotiations.

Our Correspondent July 02, 2013
The court asked President Zardari and K-P Governor to fulfil their legal obligations in recovering the abducted workers. PHOTO: NNI


Senators and newly-elected MNAs from North and South Waziristan Agency were summoned by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) during a hearing into the Gomal Zam Dam kidnapping case.

A PHC division bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Qaisar Rasheed issued the orders on Tuesday.

The court also asked President Asif Ali Zardari and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Shaukatullah Khan to fulfil their legal obligations and protect the life and property of the abducted workers since they are responsible for governance in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

During the course of hearing, Deputy Attorney General Iqbal Mohmand said the court had been briefed about a meeting held at the Governor House regarding the efforts being made to recover the abducted workers and a sealed report had been submitted to the court.

North Waziristan Assistant Political Agent Zaheeruddin Babar told the bench the most difficult task was to identify the abductors so that local elders can be mobilised to negotiate with them and break a deal for the workers’ recovery.

Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) officials present at the hearing said the department was willing to pay half of the stipulated ransom, upon which CJ Khan remarked the Gomal Zam Dam would be inaugurated soon but those who worked on its construction are still in the abductors’ custody.

Tank Assistant Political Agent Hameedullah Khan informed the court the political agent of Tank took charge of his office on June 9 and has been putting all his efforts to recover the abducted workers since then. He added a tribal jirga has also been constituted which submits a daily report to the political agent on the matter.

The bench issued directions to devise a strategy to recover the unfortunate men and adjourned the hearing till July 17.

In a June 6 hearing, the court was told the process of retrieving the abducted workers had slowed down after the drone strike in NW which killed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Waliur Rehman.

Around eight employees of Wapda working at the Gomal Zam Dam project in South Waziristan Agency were abducted in August 2012 by unidentified armed men. Aside from demanding a ransom, the abductors also sought release of some high profile alleged militants.

Bail applications rejected

In another case, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) turned down bail requests for five alleged militants of a family.

On May 25, Chamkani police arrested six suspected militants, including a woman, during a police raid in Tarnab and recovered a bomb weighing around eight kilogrammes (kg) along with a bag containing 7kgs of explosives. Police claimed the family was involved in several bomb blasts in the area.

On Tuesday, the court said a charge-sheet will be completed within three days and hearing concluded within a week.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.


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