Internment centres: ‘Missing men’ tally goes further up

90 more declared in custody by state attorney.

Our Correspondent August 03, 2013
Commission on Enforced Disappearances had so far reported about 700 cases of missing persons. DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN


The federal government on Friday informed the Supreme Court that there were 90 additional missing persons who had been detained in internment centres, besides the earlier headcount of 568.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Tariq Mehmood Khokhar apprised a three-judge bench hearing the missing persons’ case that fresh figures of those detained in internment centres across Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) would be submitted to the court soon.

Earlier the federal government had communicated to the Supreme Court that 504 persons had been detained in seven internment centres in Pata, Fata, and K-P. However, later 64 were added to the total number and now on Friday, another 90 were added to the list.

It may be mentioned here that the Commission on Enforced Disappearances had so far reported about 700 cases of missing persons and would match the list with particulars of those detained in the internment centres, before informing their respective families about their presence.

“You are giving us information in pieces, rather concealing facts from the court. Why don’t you put up complete details of detained persons at once, because the court had given you clear-cut directions,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed.

AAG Khokhar replied that further information started coming in after the recently constituted Federal Task Force on Missing Persons got into gear and a meeting was held with Fata and Pata secretaries at the office of the Attorney General of Pakistan on July 31, 2013.

He assured the bench that in the meeting it was informed that through a notification, oversight boards for the internment centers in Malakand, Kohat and Bannu divisions had been constituted to review the detentions of all individuals from time to time.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) home and tribal affairs department also submitted a standard operating procedure (SOP) on how to conduct meetings between relatives and the detainees.

The AAG added that the department also submitted copies of a few orders of internment as samples in order to show that the detainees were held on the basis of some specific allegations.

The bench, which was hearing the case of Khair Ullah, who had been allegedly taken away in 2009 from his house in Bajaur Agency, directed K-P Police Inspector General Ahsan Ghani to produce him in the court on August 6, 2013. The court in its order observed that the IG and other senior police officers were aware of the matter, but no progress had been made.

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


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