The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has summoned FATA additional chief secretary (ACS) and the in charge of Kohat and Lakki Marwat internment centres to appear on June 3 – the next date of hearing – in two separate cases of enforced disappearances.
The order was issued on Tuesday by a division bench of PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain while hearing cases of missing persons. Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Akhtar Ali Shah, Khyber Agency Political Agent Shahab Ali Shah, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Kifayatullah Khan, Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan and Major Muhammad Ali of the Ministry of Defence appeared for the hearing.
Waqar Ahmad Khan informed the court that according to Muhammad Arshad Farid, son of missing Zain Khan Khalil, his father has been in the custody of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan for about four years and cannot be retrieved by their investigation.
Akhtar Ali Shah said the tribal areas are the exclusive domain of the FATA ACS, and was previously in the control of his own department. We have taken up the case of Zain Khalil, but the ACS is the appropriate person to assist the court, he added.
Shahab Ali Shah told the court that they had carried out a search operation in the area where he was suspected to have been detained. He added that some people were arrested, but the missing person was not found.
The petitioner, Arshad, told the division bench that his father was last seen in Zakakhel Bazaar of Tirah in 2010, after which his whereabouts have remained unknown. The vehicle used in the kidnapping of his father, Arshad added, was the one used in a similar case of the abduction of Islamia College University Vice Chancellor Ajmal Khan.
On April 22, the court had directed the additional advocate general and DAG to consult their seniors and come back with a positive result by May 13, as the petitioner had requested the detainee’s name be put on the list of prisoners to be exchanged.
DAG Kifayatullah Khan submitted a report compiled by the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence, denying that a missing person, Muhammad Shereen, is in their custody.
Muhammad Ajmal Khan, counsel of the petitioner, told the court that he had submitted the name, mobile number and unit address of the army official involved in the case: Colonel Kashif of 72 Punjab Regiment. The court then directed the army official to submit his report at the next date of hearing.
While hearing the cases of two other missing persons detained at Ghallanai and Khar internment centres, Iqbal Durrani, counsel of FATA ACS, told the court that these centres do not come under their authority; whereas Major Muhammad Ali said the army is only controlling the external security of these internment centres. The court then ordered both to submit their written replies regarding the control of these centres and also summoned the in charge of Lakki Marwat and Kohat interment centres in the case of one Abid Shah. They were ordered to appear before the court on the next date of hearing, along with a complete record of the case.
The bench disposed of the petition of Mohabat Shah, who is missing from Swat, after it was informed that the same case is open before the Supreme Court and the commission investigating the matter of 35 missing persons from Malakand.
The court later adjourned the hearing of these cases to June 3.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2014.