ISLAMABAD: The High Court in Islamabad on Monday expressed concern over the increase in the number of missing persons cases and observed that under the law, the police, the counterterrorism department and the Agency Federal investigative authorities could only make arrests for security reasons.
IHC Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani observed that the detention of a citizen by these security forces other than to ensure law and order was illegal, adding that if another agency made an arrest, the federal government would be responsible for such illegality. .
Judge Kayani made the observations while hearing a petition calling for the recovery of missing person Abdul Qadoos.
Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar informed the court that Abdul Qadoos had been released.
This is the second time in less than a week that a missing person has been released by unknown kidnappers. Earlier, Pakistan’s Securities and Exchange Commission official Sajid Gondal was released by his captors on Tuesday last week.
Judge Kayani summoned Interior Minister Ijaz Shah and Secretary Yousaf Nasim Khokhar last week. However, when the court resumed the hearing, AAG Khokhar said the Home Secretary had undergone cardiac treatment and was unable to attend court proceedings.
On Monday, Judge Kayani pointed out that the superintendent’s investigation found that around 50 cases of missing persons had been reported in Islamabad. He called it alarming and recalled that the federal government was responsible for protecting the lives and dignity of citizens.
AAG Khokhar informed the court that pursuant to his order of August 7, the Home Secretary had brought the matter to the attention of the federal cabinet and Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the prime minister had formed a committee made up of members of the federal cabinet to review cases of enforced disappearances and make recommendations to avoid such incidents in the future.
The committee, headed by Minister of Law Farogh Naseem, includes advisor to Prime Minister of the Interior Shahzad Akbar, Chief Commissioner Amir Ali Ahmed and IGP Aamir Zulfiqar Khan.
AAG Khokhar informed the court that the committee has jurisdiction to examine enforced disappearances not only in Islamabad but also in other provinces.
Judge Kayani said the court wanted to bring the matter to the attention of the prime minister and the federal cabinet. He said courts were not supposed to rescue missing people on their own and judges could only give directions to state institutions.
The court then dismissed the request.
Posted in Dawn, September 15, 2020
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