The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has directed the federal government to submit its report of the ministries of interior and defence regarding an Indian national who came to Kohat through Afghanistan and has been missing since November 2012.
A division bench of PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Nisar Hussain Khan was hearing around 24 petitions of enforced disappearances when the directives were issued. Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Manzoor Khalil, Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan, Deputy Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Department Usman Zaman and Wing Commander Muhammad Irfan of the Ministry of Interior appeared for the hearing.
The petition says Delhi Rotary Club President Nihal Hamid Ansari had come to Afghanistan to find a job in the aviation industry. It further reads that Ansari had developed relations with a girl, who is a resident of Kohat, through social media. The court learnt that Ansari was picked up by unidentified persons from a hotel in Kohat on November 12, 2012 and his whereabouts have remained unknown since then.
The CJ argued with the DAG over the functions of intelligence agencies and whether the court will now have to inform them regarding the activities of people. CJ Miankhel said they must have records of the missing person, including his emails. The court then directed the government to submit its replies regarding the matter.
In a separate case, the court had ordered the political administration of Khyber Agency to determine whether the body of previously missing person Roohullah was recovered from the tribal areas or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Asadullah, Roohullah’s brother, told the court that police had arrested his brother on May 24, 2013, along with his other brothers, in the jurisdiction of Chamkani police station and accused him of preparing an improvised explosive device.
He added that an anti-terrorism court had acquitted Roohullah, along with other arrested people, but later the police charged him in another case. Asadullah’s brother got out on bail in the latter case, and when he came out from Peshawar Central Jail, officials of an intelligence agency allegedly picked him up from the gate.
Roohullah’s body was found from Khyber Agency on November 20, after which the family protested outside Peshawar Press Club and the PHC.
Similarly, the court was informed that Umar Gul, son of petitioner Noor Muhammad, was allegedly picked up by army officials from Orakzai Agency on May 21 last year. The family was in contact with him initially, but their communication broke off and they have not been aware of his whereabouts since.
The court then directed that since specific allegations were levelled against army officials, the Ministry of Interior should submit separate reports, explaining the position of each official involved in the case.
In a handout issued by the K-P Home and Tribal Affairs Department on Monday, the provincial and federal governments were notified to send requests for no-objection certificates for foreign visits at least seven working days prior to their expected arrival. The handout states that as the home department is responsible for ensuring foolproof security, it needs time to formulate a well-coordinated plan and issue field formations to police and other law enforcement agencies.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2014.
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