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June 11, 2019

PHC suspends SHO in missing person case


June 11, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday suspended a station house officer in a missing person case for making no headway in such cases after registration of first information reports (FIRs).

“SHO is custodian of an area. It is unacceptable that heavily armed and uniformed men came to his area and picked up persons without fulfillment of legal procedures and SHO concerned have no information of it,” PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth observed while hearing contempt of court cases against police officers for not making any progress in the cases of missing persons after registration of the FIRs on the court direction.

The chief justice further observed that if the court suspends 12 to 15 SHOs in the missing persons’ cases, the facts and the persons involved in it would automatically come on files of the courts.

He further remarked that first the high court was referring the cases of missing persons to the Inquiry Commission on Enforced Disappearances, but that has also become very weak. He observed that the court would now decide the missing persons’ cases instead of sending them to the commission.

In a short order, it was stated that in view of facts and circumstances and FIRs, the SHO concerned of Khazana Police Station is hereby suspended till submission of his statement and progress report in the court about the missing person case.

The bench made the observations and passed the directions in a contempt of court petition filed by Ubaidullah, resident of Bajaur district, against the SHO and investigation officer of Khazana Police Station in Peshawar for not complying with the court order.

During the hearing, Muhammad Arif Jan, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that as per the court directions passed on February 18, 2019, the respondent police officers registered FIR on April 13 about the disappearance of the petitioner’s father Gul Zada from the limits of the police station concerned.

However, the lawyer submitted that after registration of the FIR, the police officers were not taking interest in the case and even did not proceed for investigation after registration of FIR. The lawyer submitted that the respondent police officers refused to the petitioner further proceeding in the FIR without prior approval of the high-ups.

He submitted that police in missing persons’ cases did not go for investigation and same is the case of the petitioner. As per the FIR, the petitioner stated that his mother Ghaziba Bibi stated that unknown persons came to the house on October 10, 2017 and picked up his father Maulana Gul Zada. She also stated that the persons also took Rs80,000 from house box and then returned Rs10000 out of that.

Additional Advocate General Qaiser Ali Shah submitted that police had complied with order of the court and registered FIR. On this, the PHC chief justice observed that police duty is not merely to register FIR, but also to investigate the case after registering the case.

The same bench, in another missing person case, summoned two station house officers on June 17 as a petitioner claimed that police refused to register proper FIR and asked the court to nominate SHO in the case as he was present along with personnel of law-enforcement agencies in enforced disappearance of brother of the petitioner. The bench summoned SHO Mathra Police Station Ijaz and the then SHO Muhammad Rafiq in the contempt of court petition.

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