Enforced disappearances: Top court orders CID grilling of 18 FC officials

Missing persons’ case won’t end with (my) retirement: CJ.


Naeem Sahoutara November 29, 2013
Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry leaves Supreme Court Karachi Registry after hearing the hearing of Karachi Unrest case on Friday, November 29, 2013. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI:


The Supreme Court ordered that 19 officials of the Frontier Constabulary, among them a brigadier, a colonel and a major, be presented before the Crime Investigation Department of Balochistan Police for interrogation on Sunday.


The relatives of some Baloch missing persons have nominated Brigadier Orangzeb, Colonel Naeem, Major Tahir, Subedar Momin and Subedar Allah Bux, among 19 officers for their alleged involvement in enforced disappearances during their stint in the FC.

A four-judge bench – headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry – also ordered the IGFC to appear before the court on December 2 with an explanation as to why he did not comply with the repeated court orders of presenting 35 missing persons in the court.

When the hearing started on Friday, Justice Chaudhry asked the deputy attorney general (DAG), Sajid Bhatti, why the 19 FC men were not present in the court despite Thursday’s order. Bhatti said the court order could not be communicated to the defence secretary because he was travelling, and had no fax facility at home.

Meanwhile, FC Major Nadeem handed over an envelope containing a short statement to the judges. This visibly irritated the chief justice, who returned it, saying, “Stop this game”.



He recalled that the defence secretary, who is a retired lieutenant general, had himself given an undertaking before the court that all the personnel and officials would be presented but nothing has been done yet.

He told the DAG that judicial inquiries against these officials and officers against these men have concluded, therefore, Article 10 of the Constitution that requires arrest and prosecution also applies to uniformed persons.

In another attempt, the DAG said the nominated personnel could not be identified since they work under cover names (pseudonyms) and requested for more time. “Are they [such] high-profile personalities that they cannot appear in the court,” remarked a bench member, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain. “If they are, then let us know and we will see,” he added.

The bench asked the law officer to disclose the name of the person so that the court may proceed against him for contempt under Article 204 of the Constitution. The chief justice said there is overwhelming evidence against these officers and the authorities would have to present them before the court.

DAG Bhatti and Major Nadeem were asked to contact the authority concerned to ensure production of the 19 men in the court.

Appearing again, the law officer said the nominated persons could not be traced with the names mentioned in the police list, as some have already gone back to the army. Two FC personnel, who were released on bail, can be presented, but others are yet to be identified, he explained.

The judges noted that when authorities claim the officials and officers have gone back to the army, it means that they are identifiable and are deliberately not being presented.

Justice Chaudhry noted that the authorities are deliberately not presenting the men nominated in the enforced disappearances cases so that the matter could be delayed and the incumbent chief justice (himself) is retired.

“Do you think this matter [of missing persons] would end with the retirement of the chief justice,” he questioned them, who remained silent.

Pointing at his fellow judges sitting on the bench, Justice Chaudhry said these are the strong people who will ensure that only rule of law and Constitution are supreme.

The apex court ordered for the 19 officials and officers, who have been nominated in FIRs by the families of missing persons, to be presented before the Balochistan Crime Investigation Department DIG on December 1 (Sunday) for interrogation.

Adjourning the hearing till December 3, the bench also ordered the IGFC to appear before the court with an explanation as to why the missing persons have not been produced despite repeated orders.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2013.

COMMENTS (11)

Baloch | 7 years ago | Reply

All this man and the rest of the sane public want the supermacy of justice and order of law in the country . no bodody is entitled to be above law ,, be that armed forces or Frontier Corps... the 3 decades military drama has so shrunk the constitution that has been torn into pieces by the so called Security forces . Mind you these people never want democratic norms to flourished in this country... And enfored disappearances of the missing by the ruthless agencies made it quite clear that "Khakhis" are all in all in Pakistan

PakistaniGuy | 7 years ago | Reply Please grill the many corrupt politicians also
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