Monday May 20, 2024

SHC takes exception to frequent transfers of IOs in missing persons’ cases

By Jamal Khurshid
April 20, 2024
This image shows the building of the Sindh High Court in Karachi. — Facebook/Sindh High Court Bar Association Karachi/File
This image shows the building of the Sindh High Court in Karachi. — Facebook/Sindh High Court Bar Association Karachi/File

The Sindh High Court on Friday took exception to frequent transfers of investigation officers dealing with missing persons’ cases and observed that transfers of IOs caused delays in the recovery of missing persons.

Hearing petitions against enforced disappearance of citizens, a division bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto observed that fundamental rights of the citizens are involved and directed the IGP to look into the matter.

The court observed that missing persons’ cases had been pending before the court for the last couple of years, and despite several sessions of joint investigation teams and the establishment of a provincial task force, there was no clue. It said disappointment had been increasing in the families of missing persons due to lack of recovery of missing persons.

The court directed the police to take steps for the recovery of missing persons Amna Noor, Waqas Rehman, Naveed Ali, Muneef Ali, Azhar Saeed and Naveed and submit progress reports.

It directed the secretaries of ministry of interior and defence to collect reports from internment centres and agencies working under their control and submit compliance reports. In one case of missing persons, a sister of a missing person mentioned threats to the lives of family members, and the court directed the SSP and DIG investigation concerned to provide protection to the family members.

The high court directed the home secretary and relevant officers to repeat sessions of joint investigation teams and the provincial task force and submit compliance reports on the next date of hearing.

PTI candidate

The Election Tribunal of the Sindh High Court directed the ECP and others to file comments on a petition filed by a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and candidate of National Assembly constituency NA-238 East against the election results of polling in the constituency.

PTI-backed candidate Haleem Adil Sheikh submitted in the petition that he had secured the highest number of 84,049 votes from the NA-238 East Karachi as per Form 45 received from all polling stations; however, his votes were shown reduced to 36,885 votes in Form 47 by the returning officer.

He said Muttahida Qaumi Movement candidate Sadiq Iftikhar, who secured 10,302 votes as per Form 45, was shown to have polled the highest number of 54,885 votes by the RO.

The petitioner’s counsel Ali Tahir submitted that the ECP had failed to upload Form 45 for the 292 polling stations of the constituency disregarding the legal requirement to do so within 14 days of polling as stipulated in Section 92(10) of the Election Act.

The counsel submitted that Forms 45 have been tampered with in favour of the respondent candidate and the votes cast in favour of the petitioner were superstitiously transferred in favour of the MQM candidate, effectively revising the electoral outcome in favour of the respondent.

The court was requested to withdraw and set aside the notification with regard to declaring the respondent Sadiq Iftikhar as returned candidate and restrain him from attending sessions of the National Assembly till a decision on the petition.

Some counsel of the respondents submitted that they have received copies of the petition and sought time to go through the same and submit replies. The ET headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha directed the ECP and other respondents to submit their replies on the next date of hearing.