Missing persons cases: CJ summons interior, home secretaries

PHC bench annoyed over failure to implement court orders

Fawad Ali September 29, 2015
Peshawar High Court. PHOTO: PPI

PESHAWAR: Annoyed over their failure to comply with orders in missing persons cases, Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel summoned the federal interior secretary and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa home secretary on Tuesday. The officials were told to appear on the next date of hearing.

The division bench of Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Irshad Qaiser, while hearing 20 cases related to missing persons, observed that departments working under the K-P chief secretary failed to perform their duties.

“The additional PHC registrar issued notices on several occasions, but departments under the provincial and federal governments failed to submit their replies despite being given several chances,” the chief justice remarked.

He asked representatives of the government departments to present themselves in court and explain their failure to comply with orders. Miankhel observed that court orders were being blatantly ignored.

Deputy Attorney General Manzoor Khalil and Additional Advocate General Syed Qaiser Ali Shah, both representing the federation, told the bench that they informed the relevant departments in time. “If any department is not implementing orders, it is the duty of their heads to act against the officials,” he replied.

However, since the court had not received replies from the federal interior secretary and K-P home secretary, it issued notices to both officials to appear in person on the next date of hearing.

In a separate missing persons’ case of Fazal Taj, the bench asked the deputy attorney general to explain the Ministry of Defence’s failure to submit a reply.

Shah told the court it was the responsibility of the ministry’s legal director, Col (retd) Falak Naz, to submit the reply on time.

The court issued an order to attach the salary of Naz till the implementation of this order. The bench also directed the defence secretary to implement the court order.

In another case related to the Malakand Internment Centre, complainant Khan Sahib said he has been visiting the court since 2009 for the recovery of his missing son. He claimed his son was at the internment centre, but the Malakand commissioner said he was not present there.

The chief justice remarked he was well aware of the treatment of inmates at internment centres, adding strict action would be taken against authorities if they were responsible for the deteriorating health conditions of detainees.

In a separate case, Aminur Rahman, the counsel for Aqil Shah, whose son was picked up by the political administration of Kurram Agency from settled areas over a land dispute, told the court the man was released on parole. “However, he is still being harassed and arrested on different pretexts,” Rahman said.

The bench directed the political administration to follow the correct legal procedure before arresting anyone from settled areas by obtaining permission from the concerned magistrate. The bench adjourned the cases.

Later, K-P Home Secretary Arbab Arif appeared before the court and urged the bench to give him time to submit a detailed reply. “We want to dispose of most cases, but they linger on due to noncompliance of court orders by the authorities,” the CJ remarked. However, Arif’s plea was accepted.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2015.


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