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Friday June 14, 2024

Inability to recover missing poet will be state’s failure: IHC judge

Islamabad High Court directs government to recover missing Kashmiri poet Ahmed Farhad by Friday

By Awais Yousafzai
May 21, 2024
Poet Ahmed Farhad seen in this image. — Facebook/Ahmed Farhad Official/File
Poet Ahmed Farhad seen in this image. — Facebook/Ahmed Farhad Official/File

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Tuesday remarked that the inability to recover a missing person would be a failure of the state, as he presided over a hearing pertaining to the recovery Kashmiri poet Ahmed Farhad who disappeared last week.

"If a person does not get recovered, it will be a failure of the state," the judge said while directing the government to find the missing poet by Friday.

Farhad, known for his defiant prose, was allegedly abducted from his house. On May 15, his wife moved the IHC seeking his recovery and requested the court to identify, investigate, and prosecute those responsible for his disappearance.

Human rights lawyer Iman Mazari represented the petitioner in the case.

The IHC judge received Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan's assurance about the Farhad's rescue and recovery.

"[We] will do whatever it takes. [We] will rescue and recover [Farhad]," the AGP said while addressing the IHC judge and taking the responsibility to look into the matter.

The hearing was also attended by interior secretary and Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi.

During the hearing, Justice Kayani ordered the AGP to ensure Farhad’s recovery and that "no one gets picked up from Islamabad".

At this, AGP Awan sought time to trace and find the poet.

The court asked the AGP if the statement he gave was given after consultation with the federal government.

Meanwhile, the petitioner's lawyer asked the AGP to share the progress on recovery made during the last six days.

"If the agencies don't have him [Farhad] then he can be traced at least," she argued.

She said that this was not the only such case she had been dealing with. "I appear in such cases every day."

At this, Justice Kayani told the AGP that the matter had put the government in more trouble.

Responding to the judge, Awan said: "I am assuring you that all the available resources will be used."

Later, the Islamabad Operations SSP was summoned to the rostrum, who told the court that the police had received a written statement from the Ministry of Defence due to the absence of a senior official.

At this, the judge asked if the statement given by the ministry was under Article 161.

"Police know what they are supposed to do. The court will not interfere in the investigations," Justice Kayani remarked.

Meanwhile, the Interior secretary also appeared in the court for the hearing, while the defence secretary was absent.

"Whenever the defence secretary is called he does not appear," the petitioner's counsel said.

Justice Kayani said this practice needs to be ended, asserting that everyone must appear when summoned by the court.

"If the prime minister can come to the court, then everyone can come. No one is bigger than him," the judge remarked, while directing the defence secretary to ensure his appearance in court at the next hearing.

The court then adjourned the hearing of the case till Friday.