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SC asks ministry to produce two missing brothers

August 24, 2013
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File Photo
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the defence ministry to ensure production of two brothers, Umer Hayat and Umer Bakht, before the court on Sept 28 after the District and Sessions Judge Chakwal confirmed the allegations that they were allegedly picked up by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on April 5, 2010, from Chakwal.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which is hearing cases of missing persons asked Attorney General Muneer A. Malik to assist the court on the matter.

At the last hearing on July 26 the apex court referred the case of enforced disappearance to the District and Sessions Judge, Chakwal, for recording a statement of Malik Amir Farooq, the owner of a local coal mine where the two brothers worked as labourers, the then SHO of Chakwal police station Badar Munir, ASIs Khizar Hayat, Wajid Latif and Shabbir.

The day when the two brothers had gone missing, ASI Shabbir took them to the owner of the coal mine who later handed them over to ISI personnel. Since then whereabouts of the two brothers are not known, according to the statement of ASI Shabbir.

The apex court had asked the Sessions Judge to record findings whether the two brothers had been detained by intelligence agencies, as alleged by police, and to find out under the custody of which agency they presently were.

When the case was taken up on Friday the court asked Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar to go through the sessions judge’s report which was presented before the court in a sealed envelop.

Now when it has been established that the two brothers were under the custody of the ISI, the court said it would take action against the personnel involved in abduction of the two brothers.

The court expressed disappointment over the transfer of Inspector Ahsan Elahi, who was earlier investigating the case, from Chakwal to Attock and asked the AAG to take up the matter with the Inspector General of Punjab police and submit a report with the registrar office before the next hearing.

According to media reports, DSP Legal Chakwal Raja Nasir, who was earlier supervising the investigation, has also been transferred from Chakwal to Attock.

Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, a member of the bench, described the development as a joke and lamented that a police officer who was cooperating with the apex court had been transferred.

Meanwhile, AAG Tariq Khokhar told the Supreme Court in a case relating to the enforced appearance of Mudassir Iqbal that the Resident Coordinator United Nations Timo Pakala was expected to join police investigations into the missing person case next week.

On July 10, Superintendent Police Lahore Shahzad Nadeem Bokhari informed the apex court that police had approached the resident coordination office of the UNO but it was told to route all queries through the Foreign Office because under the Geneva Convention on Immunity and Privileges 1968 the employees of the UN enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

SP Bokhari later visited the UN office in Islamabad in pursuance of the Supreme Court directives but he was not allowed to see any UN official despite waiting for over two hours in their office.

A UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearance on Sept 8, 2012 had referred a matter to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances headed by retired Justice Javed Iqbal through a letter suggesting that Mudassir Iqbal had been seen in a secret detention centre by several people and the family of the victim had been informed about the fact through other people who earlier had been detained there illegally. The letter, however, did not mention which area or place housed the secret detention centre.

On Feb 16, 2011 Mudassir Iqbal, a shopkeeper of Shadbagh Chowk Lahore, had gone missing.

On Friday the court expressed dismay over the role by UN coordinator for not joining the investigation and questioned whether Pakistan was a sovereign state or not.The AAG explained that under the relevant laws of the UN (privileges and immunity Act 1948) UN officials were enjoying certain immunity. He said that in this matter, acting UN coordinator was interviewed by SP Bokhari.