PESHAWAR, Sept 25: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants of the Peshawar Electricity Supply Company’s chief and ordered attachment of his salary after his failure to appear before the court in a kidnapping case of three employees of the company.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth expressed displeasure over non-recovery Pesco’s three linemen and nine labourers despite passage of over seven months and directed the administration of tribal areas to make their recovery possible before Oct 19, the next date of hearing.
The bench directed that till next order the salary of Pesco chief Brig Tariq Sadozai should be attached.
The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Khan Baz, a relative of one of the kidnapped persons. The employees and labourers were abducted by armed men on Jan 31 when they were repairing a power pylon at Khushal Khwar area near Badhber, which was blown up by the militants a few days earlier.
When the bench took up for hearing the case in the morning it took exception to the delay in the recovery of kidnapped persons and observed that nobody was taking interest in their recovery.
Advocate Iqbal Durrani, appearing for the administration of Khyber Agency and stated that the administration was engaged in negotiations with the kidnappers. He stated that the kidnappers had been demanding a ransom of Rs100 million and release of 20 of their associates.
The chief justice observed that if any influential figure of Islamabad would have been kidnapped the administration would have destroyed all the hideouts of Mangal Bagh, the chief of the proscribed Lashkar-i-Islam, and displayed his severed head at Chowk Yadgar.
Mr Durrani informed the court that the kidnappers were located in the far-flung Tirah valley to which they did not have access. He said that Tirah valley had a very difficult terrain.
The bench inquired what was the use of military operation in Khyber Agency, which was in progress for the last three years, as the militants were still calling the shots there. “There is no need of such an operation when despite having modern weaponry and support of air force the forces could not reach the militants,” the chief justice observed.
The bench ordered that the Pesco chief should appear in person after the tea break and explain why he had not been taking interest in the recovery of his employees.
When the bench reassembled after the break, the Pesco chief could not turn up till rising of the bench and instead an executive engineer turned up and stated that the chief was busy. The bench took exception to it and decided to issue his bailable arrest warrants and to attach his salary.The bench expressed anguish that the employees were kidnapped while performing official duty but still the concerned officials remained unmoved for their recovery.