Observing that missing persons seemed to be detained in internment centers in tribal areas, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the federal government to extend its laws to both the federally and provincially administered tribal areas, to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens living there.
“Federation of Pakistan must take steps to extend laws to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). When you take their elected representatives in the assemblies then why are the people not getting their rights,” observed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was heading a three-judge bench.
“The government has informed us that there are 504 missing persons and there are seven internment centers in different areas of PATA and FATA,” said Justice Khawaja, one of the members of the bench, hearing cases of the missing persons
The chief justice observed that if someone was found involved in criminal activity, they should be put to a fair trial in accordance with rules and laws. “
Issuing notices to the FATA and PATA secretaries, the bench sought the complete record of the detained persons and reports regarding periodical meetings of the review boards renewing the detention orders of the detained persons.
The bench was keen to know whether the detained persons were being treated as per the frontier regulations and whether the law was being adhered to.
Hearing multiple cases of enforced disappearances, the bench also directed the authorities to arrange a meeting of the detained persons and their families and adjourned hearing till July 29.
Taking up the separate cases of disappearance of two brothers respectively from Dera Ismail Khan and Bhakhar, the bench asked the Inspectors General (IG) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to explain what action had been taken for the recovery of the individuals.
Deputy Attorney General Tariq Khokhar informed the bench that two separate FIRs were registered last year soon after the incidents of disappearance were reported.
Khokhar informed the bench that officials of relevant police stations had been nominated in the FIRs; however, he was not aware as to what action had so far been taken against the accused officials.
Taking notice of the plight of the missing person’s families, the chief justice asked the additional attorney general to make sure that the compensations were paid to the families as travel allowance in accordance with Justice retired Mansoor Alam Commission Report’s recommendations.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2013.