Saturday June 15, 2024

Missing poet case: Does sector commander live on moon, questions IHC

Whether spy agencies will run the country or law, asks Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani

By Awais Yousafzai
May 20, 2024
A general view of Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File
A general view of Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File 

Expressing his annoyance over authorities’ failure to recover missing Kashmiri poet and journalist Ahmed Farhad Shah, Islamabad High Court’s Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Monday questioned if the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sector commander lives on the moon.

The poet was allegedly abducted from his house last week. On May 15, his wife approached the IHC, seeking his recovery. She also requested the court to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for his disappearance.

At the outset of today’s hearing, a representative of the Ministry of Defence apprised the court: “Hostage [Shah] is not with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).”

The official further said that the ISI was refuting the allegation about its involvement in the enforced disappearance of the poet.

At this, the judge remarked: “Now the matter has gone beyond the jurisdiction of the ISI and the Military Intelligence (MI). They are telling about their failure.”

Justice Kayani directed the defence secretary to submit its report to the high court in writing. The judge ordered the defence and interior secretaries to appear before the court today.

The judge further said that he would also summon Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the cabinet members in the case later.

“This matter is not so simple and easy. An example has to be set in this case.”

Whether the spy agencies will run the country or the law, asked Justice Kayani. The judge further stated: “They [spy agencies] are sending messages [to the family] but on the other hand they were saying that the person is not in their custody.”

The law enforcement agencies have failed to recover the abducted person, he added.

“Does the sector commander live on the moon? What’s his stature? He’s an 18th-grade officer, who should stay within his [constitutional] limits. Do not follow them, the country can run without them.”

The court directed the investigation officer to record the sector commander’s statement and submit it to the court on Tuesday.

Justice Kiyani further said that he would dismiss the petition if the missing poet was a terrorist or nominated in any case.

Meanwhile, an additional attorney general apprised the court that an FIR had been lodged and the police were carrying out investigations.

At this, the judge reminded the additional attorney about the police’s duties and asked if lodging an FIR was a favour.

According to media reports, during the previous hearing, Justice Kayani noted that "there is a dire need for a law that entails the death penalty" for those behind enforced disappearances.