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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was about to close the 35 missing persons’ case on Thursday, but Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s disclosure that a formal FIR was yet to be filed in the province on the defence minister’s complaint spoiled it.

Consequently, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja directed the KP government to ascertain the situation on the ground and inform the court on Friday morning.

The court had taken a case about a missing man, Yasin Shah. It was initiated on an application of his brother Muhabbat Shah.

In its Dec 10 verdict, the court had held that the army authorities were responsible for removing 35 internees from the Malakand internment centre. Since then the court had repeatedly warned that it would issue contempt notices to the prime minister, along with the governor and the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, if its orders were not complied with.

On Thursday, Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt informed the court that in compliance with its orders the government got a complaint registered in daily diary (Roznamcha) of the Secretariat police station, Islamabad. The complaint has been referred to the post commander Malakand for registration of an FIR under Rule 25(3) of the Police Rules 1934.

The complaint moved on behalf of Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif held Naib Subedar Amanullah and others responsible for removing the 35 internees from the Malakand internment centre and hiding their whereabouts.

The KP Advocate General, Abdul Latif Yousufzai, informed the court that the deputy commissioner had told him that since no sections of any law had been mentioned in the complaint, he was ascertaining what sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) should be added while registering the FIR. Mr Yousufzai said Malakand police would convert the complaint into an FIR under Rule 25(3) of the Police Rules 1934 on the orders of a magistrate after cancelling the same in the federal capital police.

At this Justice Khawaja recalled the registration of a case relating to the June 19, 2013, murder of former Islamabad IG Bani Amin’s daughter-in-law. Although the murder actually took place in Peshawar, the FIR was registered in Islamabad. However, the case was later referred to Peshawar.

The court welcomed the development in missing persons’ case and said that at least the law had been set in motion.

“This will leave no doubt that everyone is subservient to the Constitution and the law has to prevail at all cost,” Justice Khawaja observed. He said that adherence to the Constitution never belittled anyone and, therefore, no one should ever make these things a matter of prestige. It is the duty of everyone to bow before the law.

The court then went through the contents of the complaint and summoned Secretariat police station SHO Abdul Rehman. The SHO confirmed recording the complaint and referring it to the Malakand police station for registration of an FIR.

The KP advocate general requested the court to summon the Malakand deputy commissioner to explain his position. But the court said that in the presence of the senior law officer of the province, it would neither call the deputy commissioner nor did it require any assistance from the defence ministry.

“We are making headway,” Justice Khawaja said, adding that it was always difficult to put toothpaste back in the tube after extracting it.