The interior secretary has been directed by the Sindh High Court (SHC) to either personally appear before the court or depute an officer to explain the whereabouts of a man missing since 2011.
The missing person, Azhar Iqbal, was allegedly detained at the army’s internment centre in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The SHC bench, headed by Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, gave the interior secretary time till August 20 to appear or send his subordinates with a progress report.
Muhammad Zia Iqbal had taken the federal interior secretary and defence secretaries, the provincial home secretary and the provincial police officer to the court over alleged unlawful detention of his brother, Azhar.
In his petition, Zia had submitted that his brother had shifted to Karachi from his hometown in Sukkur for his business and had settled in the Gulzar-e-Hyderi neighbourhood.
In the early hours of May 8, 2011, some personnel belonging to the law enforcement agencies took Azhar away from home while his wife and children were visiting their hometown. The petitioner had pleaded to the court to order the respondent ministries and departments to disclose the detainee’s whereabouts and produce him in the court.
On April 22, the judges had directed the deputy attorney general (DAG) to ask the interior secretary verify whether or not the petitioner’s brother was detained at the Lucky Marwat Internment Centre in K-P.
During Wednesday’s hearing, DAG Azizullah Buriro said he had written letters to the federal interior secretary and the K-P home secretary but has yet to receive their reply.
This visibly irked the two judges. “In the circumstances, let the notice be issued to the Secretary Interior Ministry, Government of Pakistan, for August 20 when he shall appear himself or depute any of his subordinates well acquainted with the facts of the case and affairs of the Lucky Marwat Internment Centre, K-P,” ordered Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, who was heading the bench.
The bench further ordered the interior secretary or his subordinate to submit a detailed report regarding the compliance of the court’s previous order.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2014.