PESHAWAR, Jan 22: A two-member bench of Peshawar High Court on Tuesday took exception to the killing of two ‘missing persons’ and summoned Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial police officer along with several other officials, directing them to explain as to why they failed to trace out the culprits involved in the incidents.
The bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Irshad Qaiser also put on notice the principal secretary to the prime minister and federal finance secretary, asking them to submit reply and explain as to why a poor woman whose missing son was allegedly killed in custody should not be provided with appropriate compensation not less than blood money.
The bench directed the deputy attorney general, Muzamil Khan, and an additional advocate general, Naveed Akhtar, to positively submit their reply before Feb 22, the next date of hearing, failing which the court would be constrained to order attachment of some properties of federal and provincial government to recover amount of blood money to compensate the woman, Hameeda Bibi.
The woman appeared in person and burst into tears in the courtroom. She said that her lone son was the sole bread earner of the family. “For God sake do something. Why they killed my innocent son,” she asked the PHC chief justice.
The woman said that her son was a vegetable vendor, who would work during night as a watchman in Nauthia area of Peshawar. She stated that last year he was taken away by the law enforcement agencies and after remaining missing for almost 10 months his body was found on the motorway in the limits of Parang police station of Charsadda district.
She said that the killers had placed his national identity card near his body following which local police informed her to come and collect the body.
The woman, wearing traditional burqa and worn out clothes, informed the court that her son left behind a 10-month-old child and a young widow. She stated that she had also to look after her two orphan nephews and her father. “From where I am going to pay the rent of my house?” she said.
She said that at least somebody should come forward and provide her justice.
The bench ordered that the DIG of motorway police and chief patrolling officer of the concerned portion of the motorway should appear along with the close circuit television footage of the area where the body was dumped. It was further ordered that the SHO of Parang police station, the superintendent of police of Charsadda and PPO should appear in person and explain their positions as to why citizens were killed in such inhuman manner and then buried in a clandestine manner without conducting their autopsy.The bench ordered that the officials should explain why proper investigation was not conducted in the case and why they should not be proceeded against under the Police Rules for not fulfilling their duty.
In another case Advocate Major (retired) Farhatullah Khan, appearing for a petitioner, Gul Sanga, contended that his client’s husband Shaukat Ali and her brother-in-law Sardar Ali were taken away by the law enforcement agencies in Aug 2010 on Lundkhwar Road in Mardan district. He said that few weeks ago body of one of the missing brothers Sardar was found in Kohat district.
Meanwhile, the bench gave last warning to the federal government, armed forces, law enforcement and intelligence agencies to shift ‘missing persons’ to notified internment centres otherwise the court would take up for hearing several issues regarding the legality of stay of armed forces in conflict areas as well as legal status of two regulations authorising setting up of internment centres by the forces.
The bench took exception to the non-appearance of any relevant government functionary in the cases of ‘missing persons’ and directed that the secretaries of defence and interior divisions; the inspector general of Frontier Corps; the judge advocate general of Pakistan Army; the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home secretary and provincial police officer; the sector in-charge of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI); the commandant of Military Intelligence (MI); and sector in-charge of Intelligence Bureau (IB) should appear in person to answer different queries of the court.
The bench was hearing over 270 habeas corpus petitions related to ‘missing persons’. The bench fixed Feb 14 for next hearing after persistent requests made by the DAG and AAG.
Hundreds of relatives of missing persons visited the high court. The courtroom was packed to its capacity and large number of aggrieved persons including women and children were also waiting for their turn in the crush hall and lawns of the court.