Enforced disappearances: Defence ministry to submit report on behalf of incriminated army officials

Separately, PHC orders IGP to identify policemen involved in one missing person’s case.


Noorwali Shah July 02, 2014

PESHAWAR:


The Ministry of Defence was directed on Wednesday to submit separate reports on behalf of army officials explaining their position regarding various cases of enforced disappearances. These officials were named by family members of those who have gone missing.


The order was issued by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Nisar Hussain Khan while hearing 31 petitions regarding missing persons. Deputy Attorney General Manzoor Khalil, Additional Advocate General Mian Arshad Jan and Group Captain Muhammad Irfan from the Ministry of Defence appeared for the hearing.

When the bench took up the petitions, the court was informed by Advocate Malik Ajmal Khan, counsel for Muhammad Shereen and Azeem Khan, that his ‘missing’ clients belong to Barikot, Swat and jirga members had handed them over to Pakistan Army’s Colonel Kashif on August 18, 2009.

The two missing persons were suspected of having links with militants and were handed over to be interrogated. The court learnt the two men had not been heard from since.

The court proceeded to order the Ministry of Defence to submit its reply on behalf of officials, explaining their position as person-specific allegations had been levelled in this case. The report should be submitted before September 10, the next date of hearing.

While hearing another petition, the court learnt that Khalid Mehmood Qureshi was arrested by army officials on December 9, 2009 from Kohat. It later came to light that army officials, including Brigadier Qadeem and Colonel Adnan, were involved.

Kohat DPO Muhammad Iqbal said an FIR was then registered against unidentified persons on the application of petitioner and investigation in the case is under way.

The court then exempted the DPO from appearing at the court in person but directed the Ministry of Defence to submit replies of army officials implicated in missing persons’ cases.

Ziaul Haq, counsel for petitioner Jehangir Khan, said his client was arrested along with a suspected suicide bomber on November 21, 2012 in the jurisdiction of Sarband police station. Later the suicide bomber, Bilal, was produced in an anti-terrorism court but Jehangir, who was accused for being Bilal’s handler, has been missing since his arrest. The police officials who arrested Bilal and Jehangir can be seen in media reports about the incident.

On March 28, a division bench directed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa IGP to identify the police official who arrested the suicide bomber and his handler, and produce the said official before the court.

The court on Wednesday ordered the IGP to identify the police officials and show the incriminating media reports. The office of the high court was then directed to submit the complete record of Jehangir’s case.

Kidnapped Sri Lankan

In a separate case, the court of additional sessions judge Farid Khan Alaizai granted bail before arrest to five accused of kidnapping a Sri Lankan national, who was recovered during a raid in Hayatabad on June 27.

According to the prosecutor, the police recovered Sri Lankan national Muhammad Nazeem and registered a case against Tahir, Amin, Salman Khan, Farman and Samin Jan. The five men were charged under sections 365 (kidnapping), 344 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days) and 368 (wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement kidnapped or abducted person).

Muhammad Ijaz Sabi, counsel of the accused, told the court the recovered Sri Lankan had come to Pakistan on a business visa and had been in the country for the last ten months.

Sabi argued the accused were not party to the crime. The court then granted bail before arrest to the accused and called for the record of the case to be presented by July 8.


Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2014.

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