Illegal detention: Court calls JIT progress reports from home dept

Hearing missing persons petitions, Sindh High Court seeks comments from Rangers

Naeem Sahoutara July 17, 2015

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has directed the provincial home authorities to submit the progress reports of the joint investigation teams (JITs) constituted to probe the alleged unlawful detention of Muttahida Qaumi Movement activists and others by the Rangers.

A division bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, called JIT reports from the home department and comments from the Rangers by July 30. These directions came when the bench, hearing missing persons cases, was informed that the JITs were formed to probe illegal detention by law enforcement agencies but more time was required to submit progress reports.

In his petition, Syed Muhammad Nazir had alleged that Rangers personnel had taken his 38-year-old son, Syed Muhammad Amin, into custody weeks ago.

Muhammad Haneef, another petitioner, had also approached the high court to seek the whereabouts of his two relatives, who had been missing for the last five months. He said that members of the law enforcement agencies had taken away Muhammad Bilal and Muhammad Sajid on February 13 and had not yet shared any information about them with their families.

Another petitioner, Muhammad Qamar, had gone to court with a request to order the law enforcement agencies to release his relative, Arsalan, or share information about his location.

Meanwhile, Mohsin Zafar had taken the directors-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and the Sindh Rangers, the Karachi police's East Range DIG and the area police SHO to the court. He told the judges that law enforcers had picked up his son, Ali Asad Mohsin, and his friend, Muhammad Fahad, from Gulistan-e-Jauhar on April 7.

He stated that neither had the law enforcement agencies disclosed the detainees' whereabouts to their families nor had they produced them in court. Previously, the court had been informed that a JIT had been formed to look into the matter and was assured that the court would be updated on any progress.

Muhammad Fahad Khan, another petitioner, had taken the law enforcement agencies to court to reveal the whereabouts of his brother. He said that Rangers personnel had taken away his 22-year-old brother, Muhammad Faiq, from Manghopir's Qasba Colony on May 18. The petitioner said he had grave concerns about safety of his brother.

Anwar Ali had taken the Rangers DG and others to court for allegedly detaining his son, Abdul Rehman, on July 3.

On the last date of hearing, the home department authorities had informed the judges that JITs had been constituted to probe the cases of four missing persons. They were assured that any progress in the investigations would be shared with the court.

During Thursday's proceedings, a home department representative, Sadiq Ali, requested time to file the JIT progress reports. The Rangers legal advisor, Habib Ahmed, also urged the court to grant more time for filing the comments of the paramilitary force regarding the allegations of detention levelled against it by the petitioners.

The bench directed the home department official to file the progress reports of the JITs by July 30. Meanwhile, the Rangers legal advisor was also asked to submit comments by the next date of hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.