Enforced disappearances: Court displeased over delay in progress

Says those appearing on behalf of various departments are unaware of facts.

Our Correspondent May 08, 2014
The PHC CJ stated that the government has been given ample time in the past and the court needs to be informed of progress. DESIGN: FILE

PESHAWAR: The government is required to provide progress reports on every petition of enforced disappearance and if the information contains sensitive material, it can be provided in sealed envelopes.

This was stated by Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Mazhar Alam Miankhel while hearing 28 petitions of missing persons along with Justice Ikramullah Khan on Thursday. The families of the missing persons were waiting outside the courtroom during the proceedings.

Additional Advocate General (AAG) Waqar Ahmad Khan informed the division bench he has received a complete list of missing persons from the court which was shared with the Corps Headquarters and it contains some cases which have been disposed of. As the armed forces are involved in military operations, additional time should be given to the government as each case needs to be verified from various departments.

The CJ argued that the government has been given ample time in the past and the court needs to be informed of what progress oversight boards established at each internment centre have made in the cases.

The AAG replied that the reports of internment centres are confidential upon which the CJ said if those reports contained sensitive material they can be provided in sealed envelopes for the court’s examination.

Deputy Attorney General Manzoor Khan Khalil told the bench the orders of the court are being complied with and they are trying their best to trace out all the missing persons.

The court, in its order, declared that no progress has been made on the said petitions and those who are appearing on behalf of various departments have no information about the missing persons.

The secretaries of the ministries of defence and interior and K-P’s Home and Tribal Affairs should inform the court why no progress has been made, the bench stated.

In one case, the court was informed that Muhammad Arif, 22, who was a mosque cleric in Malikabad, Swabi, was handed over to the army on February 2, 2010 by a jirga for allegedly having links with terrorist outfits.

The court summoned former MPA Sarfaraz Khan Jadoon, under whose leadership the jirga was summoned, to appear before the court in the case.

The court also summoned Khyber Agency’s political agent and assistant political agent Jamrud to appear in court and explain why compensation has not been paid to a family whose two members were found dead in Shahkas on November 30, 2012.

Advocate Sahibzada Raizatul Haq told the court that Amjad Khan and his uncle Saeed Khan were picked up within the jurisdiction of Paharipura police station on December 12, 2011 and later handed over to the political administration.

The petitioner’s counsel said on April 25, 2013, PHC had ordered compensation for deceaseds’ family but the payment had not come through. The court then ordered for a representative of the political administration to appear at the next date of hearing to explain the situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2014.


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