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ISLAMABAD: The spouse of a missing man has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking directive for the federal government to bear her monthly expenses as the police and the intelligence agencies have failed to recover her husband.

Mahera Sajid, wife of engineer Sajid Mehmood, who was allegedly picked up in March by security personnel in plain clothes, filed an application before Justice Athar Minallah on Friday.

She cited Shalimar police SHO, capital police chief, secretaries of Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, DG Intelligence Bureau, Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate and the Military Intelligence as respondents in the application.

She requested the court to direct the respondents to file a detailed report on investigation they made for the recovery of Barrister Owais Shah, son of the Sindh High Court Chief Justice, and a point-to-point comparison with the measures taken for the recovery of her husband.

She further requested the court to appoint an independent and forensically skilled commission for investigating the case, adding that the commission should be empowered to search the offices of the respondents, seize their documentary, electronic records and examine on oath the responsible officials of the respondents.

Her counsel adopted before the court that because of prolonged disappearance of Mehmood, his dependants—wife and her daughters ---were facing severe financial hardship as they were unable to draw money from Mehmood’s account.

The circumstances of the abduction strongly suggest that this is a case of ‘state-enforced disappearance’, the application states adding that the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances constituted by the Ministry of Interior has already come to the conclusion that “prima facie, this is a case of enforced disappearance”.

The respondents have so far failed to recover Mehmood and can be held responsible to bear the monthly expenses of his family till his recovery, it said.

In response to a suggestion of the interior ministry asking her to make representation before the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, the applicant’s lawyer maintained that the spouse of missing man was not expecting any satisfactory relief from the commission.

According to the application, the monthly expenses of the dependents of the “missing person” in terms of children’s education, domestic help, utility bills, property tax, food, milk, internet and petrol are Rs117,500.

Justice Minallah directed the amicus curiae, who has been appointed to assist the court in this matter, to give his arguments in the case on Nov 11.

Published in Dawn November 5th, 2016