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November 29, 2018

Deaths of four missing persons still not confirmed, SHC told


November 29, 2018

A senior police officer tasked with investigating the deaths of four persons who were allegedly picked up the Rangers seven years ago and reportedly murdered by the Uzair Baloch gang informed the Sindh High Court on Wednesday that the missing men’s deaths could not be confirmed as their bodies had not been found yet.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Phullan Khatoon who had stated that her son Ghazi Khan and his friends Mohammad Ameen, Sher Afzal Khan and Shahzad Khan were picked up the paramilitary soldiers on August 1, 2010.

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

However, the Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies have denied detaining the four. The Rangers’ counsel informed the court that Inspector Sher Afsar had admitted to receiving money from the petitioner and, in view of his misconduct, he had been removed from service.

The high court had earlier ordered an inquiry through a DIG-level officer in light of the confessional statement of Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch who had stated that the four missing persons had been killed on his instructions due to enmity.

The inquiry officer had informed the court that Baloch had confessed to killing Amin alias Lala, a jail staffer, as he (Amin) disrespected him during his confinement in prison, while the other men were killed by his associates, Sarwar Baloch, Akbar Baloch and Sikandar, who then dumped their bodies at Mewa Shah Graveyard in 2010.

However, he also submitted that the graveyard undertaker and other staff denied that bodies had been dumped there between October 1 and October 8, 2010. He added that the associates identified by Baloch – Sarwar Baloch, Akbar Baloch and Sikandar – had been killed in a police encounter and no clue has been found with regard to the remains of the bodies of the missing persons in Khatoon’s petition.

He further said that the Rangers inspector Sher Afsar and ex-sub-inspector Riaz were also being prosecuted in a trial court for kidnapping the detainees and the court’s judgment will determine the true nature of the case.

The SHC division bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto after taking the interim report on record directed the inquiry officer to continue efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing persons and adjourned the hearing till January 23. In another illegal detention case, the court took exception to the non-implementation of a court order to hold a meeting of the joint investigation team and provincial task force.

Hearing the petition of Mohammad Hanif whose son Abdul Ghaffoor went missing from New Karachi on June 10, 2014, the SHC inquired from the provincial law officer as to why the provincial task force did not hold a meeting for the recovery of the missing person for last ten months. It said the JIT and provincial task force have been directed to conduct sessions and meetings for the recovery of the missing person but the two have not complied for the past ten months. The SHC directed the home secretary to submit his explanation with regard to non-compliance with court directives by January 23.

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