PESHAWAR, Dec 11: A two-member Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday asked the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to produce a list of the people detained by law-enforcement and intelligence agencies by Dec 18 and warned that if that didn’t happen, then a full bench would be formed to examine if the further stay of the armed forces in Fata, Pata and elsewhere in the province was necessary.
Hearing around 75 cases of enforced disappearances, Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth also observed that the full bench if formed would consider all issues attached to illegal detentions by agencies.
They added that the full bench would also consider legality of detention centres run by security and secret agencies and involvement of those in detestable acts of illegal detentions.
The bench expressed anguish over non-submission of the said list about which the court had issued order on Nov 6 and observed that delay in preparation of the list and detention of innocent detainees was a serious offence being prohibited by the Constitution.
Deputy attorney general Muzamil Khan said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary had convened a meeting of the relevant people to discuss the matter in line with the court’s Dec 14 order and that the said list would be prepared and submitted to the court by the Dec 18 deadline.
On Nov 6, the court had ordered the provincial chief and home secretaries to meet the sector commanders of the armed forces and intelligence agencies to categorise the suspects allegedly in their custody and shift those against whom solid evidence was available to the notified internment centres.
The bench had ordered the two secretaries to hold the said meeting before Dec 4 and submit the report and minutes of the meeting before Dec 11. On Tuesday, the bench reproduced its previous order and issued directions for the division of the said detainees into three categories: Those against whom solid evidence is available should be declared black and shifted to internment centres; those who proved innocent during investigation should be declared white and should be set free; and those against whom proper evidence is not available but still he is a suspect he should be declared grey and should be handed over to police for further investigation.
The bench observed that illegal detentions were even not recognised in the Action (in aid of civil power) Regulation for Fata and Pata.
It added that law-enforcement agencies were involved in illegal activities by putting the people in illegal detention centres.
The bench directed the officials of the federal and provincial governments that it would be the last and final warning to do what was required under the law otherwise they would have to face the consequences.
It observed that in case such a list was prepared, the home secretary should personally show up on Dec 18 and produce the list of detainees in a sealed and duly certified packet.
During the hearing, the chief justice observed that under the law, the armed forces could be called in for the aid of civil power, but here it appeared as if the civil administration was called in for the aid of armed forces.
Deputy attorneys general Muzamil Khan and Farooq Shah appeared for the federal government, additional advocate general Naveed Akhtar for the provincial government, Commander Shahbaz Ahmad for the defence ministry and assistant judge advocate general Colonel Noor Ahmad for the armed forces.
The representatives of the federal government said the officials of the federal government departments and law-enforcement agencies were fully prepared for the meeting, but as the chief secretary had pressing engagements, he had delayed the convening of the meeting.
Meanwhile, the bench also heard around a dozen fresh petitions of missing persons and directed the defence and interior ministries, KP police and other departments to file replies to the petitions.
In these cases, the bench fixed the next hearing for Jan 15.