PESHAWAR: Issuing last warning to the spy and security agencies in the missing persons’ cases, Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan on Thursday asked them to stop picking up citizens and free missing persons otherwise the court would take drastic action against those involved in this unconstitutional act on May 16 at the next hearing.
During hearing of missing persons’ cases, he observed that job of the security agencies was to keep watch on enemies’ camps and gather intelligence for protecting sovereignty and integrity of state, but here they were flexing muscles and picking up citizens unlawfully. He termed it as an act that was damaging the image of armed forces, which were a national asset.Seeking reply from the spy agencies in the missing persons’ cases, the chief justice questioned: “Are you going to stop it or should we start action?”
The chief justice fixed all the missing persons’ cases pending in the high court for hearing on May 16 and summoned the respondents’ agencies officers, federal and provincial governments’ secretaries, judge advocate general of the Pakistan Army, additional chief secretary Fata, political administration authorities and police officers.
The bench also asked senior lawyers including Abdul Lateef Afridi, Barrister Zahoorul Haq and Khwaja Muhammad Khan Gara to assist the court in the missing persons’ cases and also study the Army Act 1975 and produce notification under which the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was founded. The bench asked the Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Iqbal Mohmand to assist the court on the issue of enforced disappearance on May 16.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General Prisons Khalid Abbas informed the division bench comprising the chief justice and Justice Miftahuddin Khan that he had given strict directives to superintendents of all prisons across the province not to allow any agency was to pick up freed prisoners from the prisons’ premises.
The chief justice observed that six missing persons’ cases were pending before the court in which the family members claimed that agencies picked their near and dear ones the day they were released on bail by the courts from the prisons.
The IG Prisons also submitted a report to the court in which he suggested proposals for improving the security of the prisons.The bench asked the IG Prisons to inform the court before releasing prisoner who is likely to be picked up by the agencies and the court would arrange foolproof security for such a prisoner to ensure that he reaches home safe and sound.
A former detainee, Zahidullah, informed the bench that he and his brother, Sufaid, were taken into custody by police from the entrance to the Mardan District Prison from where they were freed after a court granted them bail on January 20, 2011. He claimed that they were taken to Saddar police station in Mardan from where persons in plainclothes took them away. He added that he was released after six-and a half months whereas his brother was still missing.