ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday reissued notice to the Ministry of Defence directing it to nominate an officer to appear in person before the court in connection with a petition of a naval official’s wife alleging that her husband has been in Naval Intelligence’s custody since last September.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui reissued the notice to the ministry for June 24 after the standing counsel revealed that naval officials were of the view that the court had issued notice to the ministry of defence and not to them and that is why they have not appeared before the court.
While expressing dissatisfaction on the reply, the court remarked that the navy is subordinate to the ministry and the court has powers to even summon the naval chief.
Safia Ismail claims her husband, Sub Lt Hafiz Ehsanullah Sajjad, is in the custody of naval authorities without any charges levelled against him. She said Sajjad was taken away from his residence in Karachi by ‘some people in plain clothes’ on the evening of September 6, 2014.
In her petition, she has cited Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Defence, Chief of Naval Staff and Director General Naval Intelligence as respondents.
Safia’s counsel Inamul Rahiem said the respondents have allegedly detained his client’s husband without lawful justification, adding not allowing family members to meet him was a violation of fundamental rights.
In the petition, the counsel said Sajjad had sought permission to resign from service in July 2014 for personal reasons, adding his request remained under process before he was picked up.
Interestingly, on the same day — September 6, 2014 — as Sajjad’s disappearance, terrorists had attacked the Pakistan Navy dockyard in Karachi with alleged inside help. Following the incident, details of which are still murky, several naval officials were reportedly held for their alleged involvement.
On the previous hearing, Justice Siddiqui had directed the secretary defence to nominate an officer for appearing in person before the court on the next date of hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2015.
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