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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday directed the police and top officials of the district administration of Islamabad to submit affidavits regarding the disappearance of an IT engineer.

IHC’s Justice Athar Minallah also directed the concerned station house officer, superintendent of police, senior superintendent of police, inspector general, deputy commissioner and chief commissioner Islamabad to explain how Sajid Mehmood, a resident of F-10 Islamabad, went missing and why they had failed in performing their lawful duty of tracing and recovering the missing man.

The court passed these directions after standing counsel of the state, Khawaja Imtiaz said law enforcement and intelligence agencies cannot trace the missing man.

Sajid Mehmood was picked up in March 2016; intelligence agencies, police say they don’t have custody of him nor do they know where he is

Mr Imtiaz said intelligence agencies including the Inter Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence had denied custody of Mehmood and had said they did not know where he was either.

He said the police had also checked all central jails and other locations but could not find a clue which could have led to Mehmood.

Mr Imtiaz said the matter has also been referred to The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance which is trying to find Mehmood.

The IT engineer was picked up in March 2016 by armed men from his house in F-10.

His wife, Mahera Sajid filed a case in the courts for the recovery of her husband.

On March 15 last year, she submitted an application with the Shalimar police for the registration of a criminal case for the abduction of her husband but the police registered the FIR on July 14.

In a report on the disappearance of Mehmood submitted to the IHC in Dec 2016, the inspector general of the capital police said the SHO an investigation officer of the Shalimar police “failed to timely register the FIR” of the incident.

Justice Minallah on Friday ordered the SHO and SP Shalimar police to compile an affidavit and produce it in court on Oct 20.

Counsel for the petitioner, Umer Gilani, said the court should order the government to pay maintenance to the missing person’s wife and three daughters.

Earlier, the court also appointed advocate Babar Sattar and Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri as amicus curie in this case.

Jahangiri said that the case shows a lack of commitment by state agencies and the SHO of the concerned police station, and that the relevant SP and the IG should be penalised.

Sattar cited verdicts by courts in Pakistan, India, and Latin America where the state paid compensation to missing persons and their relatives. A research brief by former law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi was also submitted before the court.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2017