Enforced disappearances: Release ‘missing persons’ who have not been charged, says PHC CJ

Says officials might need to submit records on the basis of which they deny having custody.

Our Correspondent June 27, 2014

PESHAWAR: While hearing 51 petitions of enforced disappearances, Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Mazhar Alam Miankhel said the government needs to press charges against ‘missing’ persons involved in criminal activities.

Those who have not been charged should be released, he stated.

The bench comprising CJ Miankhel and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain was informed by Payo Jana that her son, Muhammad Tahir, was picked up by army personnel some two years ago and his whereabouts have been unknown since.

Home and Tribal Affairs Department Special Secretary Syed Alamgir Shah and Deputy Secretary Usman Zaman, Deputy Attorney General Manzoor Khalil, Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan and Wing Commander Muhammad Irfan from the Ministry of Interior appeared for the hearing.

“We cannot face these families anymore,” said the CJ. “We are getting the same replies from officials at every hearing. In future, they may need to submit those records on the basis of which they claim the missing person is not in their custody.”

The bench was informed by Advocate Abdul Fayaz that the home department has sent a letter to DSP Shah Nawaz, suggesting he limit his movements for security purposes, and so he would not be able to appear at court for the case of Fazal Amin.

The bench responded by saying the DSP should record his statement before a judicial magistrate.

The court also directed the home department and Ministry of Defence to submit their separate reports regarding the disappearance of Feroz Shah, who was arrested after an attack on former president Pervez Musharraf.

Similarly, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for eight jirga members from Swat district, who allegedly handed over Amir Khatam of Matta to army officials.

The eight members include Muhammad Naeem, Shereen Swati, Khurshid Khan, Muhammad Iqbal, Attaullah, Abdullah, Khirat Muhammad and Sahil Muhammad.

The bench ordered them to be produced in court on September 3.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2014.


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