The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday summoned two top city officials on Tuesday (today) in response to a petition seeking the recovery of the body of an IDP who died recently of natural causes.
Gul Sher, an IDP from Dera Bugti protesting for the right to return to the conflict-ridden area, died on July 3 after contracting meningitis. The Islamabad Administration then told Shifa International Hospital not to release the body because IDPs led by Nawabzada Gohram Bugti and others had threatened to take the body to D-Chowk for a protest.
On Monday, IHC Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi summoned Inspector General of the Islamabad Police Bani Amin Khan, Islamabad Chief Commissioner Jawad Paul and City Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Ali in person to explain why the body was not being handed over. The officials were put on notice in response to a petition filed by Jamhori Watan Party (JWP) leader Gohram Bugti.
Over 200 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Dera Bugti have been protesting against the Islamabad Administration for its refusal to hand over the body.
Advocate Babar Awan, the petitioner’s counsel, maintained that after Sher died at Shifa on July 3, the Islamabad Administration restrained the hospital from handing over the body. He argued that the deceased’s family were protesting against the Islamabad administration, but the authorities did not take the issue seriously. Awan said the victim’s family has a right to take possession of the body for burial in Dera Bugti. “It is their constitutional right,” he argued.
After Sher died, the Islamabad Administration had offered to store the body at Pims, Polyclinic or Shifa International Hospital (SIH) while arrangements were made to take the body to Dera Bugti. Initially, the family had agreed, but ‘changed their minds’ when the JWP leaders showed up.
In May, IDPs from Dera Bugti had established a protest camp in front of the National Press Club to demand the right to return to their hometown, which has been deemed unsafe by the government due to military action in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2013.
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