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May 18, 2018

SHC tells home, education departments to help implement action plan


May 18, 2018

The Sindh High Court on Thursday took notice of the failure of the focal persons of the home and education departments to appear and directed the home secretary and the director general for inspection and registration of private institutions to show up at the next hearing and assist it in the implementation of a proposed action plan suggesting enhanced security measures for all educational institutions.

The court was hearing a petition of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) seeking directives for the provincial authorities to boost the security of educational institutions in the light of the killing of over 130 children at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014.

Piler had filed the petition in January 2015, asking that the Sindh government should be directed to protect all the educational institutions in the province to avoid a repetition of the gruesome terrorism incident.

The petitioner had submitted a proposed action plan and suggested that security should be enhanced by the government at all educational institutions in the province. The court had directed the focal persons to assist it over the proposed action plan. Taking notice of the focal persons’ failure, it observed that it repeatedly issued directions for the appearance of the focal persons so that the matter could be heard and decided, which had pending since 2015.

The additional advocate general stated that the chief secretary had submitted the compliance report with regard to the security of public and private schools in the province. The petitioner’s counsel, Amna Usman, submitted that no foolproof security arrangements had been made in this regard.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar issued notices to the home secretary and the director general for inspection and registration of private institutions to appear and assist the court in implementing the proposed action plan.

The court also directed the chief secretary to submit the latest report with regard to the status of security arrangements of the schools and adjourned the hearing till May 25. The court had earlier been informed by a provincial law officer that there were 81 schools across the province which were most sensitive in respect of security. The report stated that a summary had been forwarded to the chief minister, requesting funds to raise security walls around the buildings of the schools.

Missing persons

A police officer who was appointed to conduct an inquiry into the deaths of four persons who were allegedly picked up by paramilitary Rangers seven years ago and were reportedly killed by gangsters associated with the Uzair Baloch group of Lyari said the deaths of the four men could not be confirmed.

The court was hearing a petition of Phullan Khatoon, who had complained of the disappearance of her son, Ghazi Khan, and his three friends – Mohammad Ameen, Sher Afzal Khan and Shahzad Khan — claiming that they had been picked up by paramilitary soldiers on August 1, 2010.

She named the suspected paramilitary officials as Colonel Suleman, Sher Afsar and Riaz Taman. Khatoon alleged that Afsar even took a bribe of Rs100,000 from her for arranging a meeting with the detainees.

The Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies, however, denied detaining the four. The Rangers informed the court that Inspector Sher Afsar had admitted having received money from the petitioner and, in view of his misconduct, he had been removed from service.

The investigation officer had earlier referred to the confessional statement of Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch in which Baloch had admitted that the four persons had been killed on his instructions due to enmity. He said the graveyard record of Mochko was examined but no evidence was found that the detainees had been buried between October 1 and 8, 2010. The court directed the SSP East to hold an inquiry into the matter.

The SSP East submitted in the inquiry report that Baloch had confessed to killing Amin alias Lala, a jail staff, as he disrespected him during his confinement in prison, while other persons were killed by his associates, Sarwar Baloch, Akbar Baloch and Sikandar, who dumped their bodies at Mewa Shah graveyard in 2010. However, the graveyard undertaker and other staff denied dumping the bodies. A division bench headed by Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar adjourned the hearing till June 20.

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