The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday issued notice to Frontier Constabulary’s director-general over detention of missing persons at internment centres in Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa(K-P).
The bench also ordered the interior ministry to hand over to the Sindh’s home department a citizen, who had been picked up from Sindh province and was currently detained at an internment centre in the K-P.
Heading the bench, SHC Chief Justice Mushir Alam passed these directives while hearing a number of constitutional petitions filed by the relatives of dozens of missing persons, against their allegedly unlawful detention by the law enforcement agencies.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Muhammad Ashraf Mughal informed that many missing people from Sindh were detained at the internment centres in the K-P.
To a query, Mughal claimed that these internment centres were operating under administrative command and control of the Frontier Constabulary.
The bench, therefore, issued a notice to the director general of Frontier Constabulary to file his comments regarding the missing persons detained at the centres, working under his command and control by the next date of hearing.
A detainee’s custody
Meanwhile, DAG Ashraf Mughal said a missing person, Muhammad Tahir Khan, was also detained at an internment centre in the K-P.
His mother, Wakalat Bibi, alleged that her 20-year-old son was whisked away by the law enforcers while he was travelling from Karachi to the Swat Valley on August 24, 2012. Since then his whereabouts were unknown, the petitioner had complained, apprehending that he might be killed in a staged encounter.
She had pleaded with the court to order the law enforcement agencies working under the administrative control of the provincial as well as federal interior ministry to produce Tahir Khan in court.
The bench directed the interior ministry to hand over the detainee to the responsible officers of the Sindh home department.
The bench adjourned hearing till August 20, when all the cases in which the missing persons are stated to have been detained at the internment centres would be taken up jointly.
Assistance for missing persons’ families
The same bench directed the office to separately fix a petition seeking financial and other types of assistance for the children and families of all the missing persons by the state since the only bread earner for such families were missing for many years.
A number of such families are facing great difficulties in addition to social stigmas since they have been isolated by the society, the petitioner Advocate Nisar A Mujahid had claimed in the petition filed nearly two years back.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.