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Police told to make ‘serious’ efforts to find missing children, submit report on March 21

Updated February 22, 2019

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Two facilitators of suicide attack on Qalandar’s shrine remanded in police custody. ─ File photo
Two facilitators of suicide attack on Qalandar’s shrine remanded in police custody. ─ File photo

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over the progress report filed by the police about their efforts for the recovery of missing children and directed the police to make serious efforts to recover them.

The two-judge bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, directed the deputy inspector general of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) to use modern devices and all other available resources to ascertain the whereabouts of the children and submit a report on March 21.

In an earlier hearing, the bench had asked the police and the Federal Investigation Agency to check the travel history of missing children after a question was raised about the possibility of their use in human trafficking.

On Thursday, the DIG CIA, who is heading a committee to make efforts for the recovery of the missing children, through a progress report submitted that the travel history of two of the 18 children had been collected and they had not been sent aboard. He added that they were also coordinating with other provinces to ascertain the whereabouts of the children.

Two facilitators of suicide attack on Qalandar’s shrine remanded in police custody

On a directive of the SHC, the police had lodged 23 FIRs regarding the missing children at the Awami Colony, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Ferozabad, Saudabad, Docks, Preedy Street, Boat Basin, Quaidabad, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, New Karachi Industrial Area and Korangi police stations. Later, five of them returned home.

The petition was filed by Roshni Research and Development Welfare in 2012 seeking court directives to the provincial police for considering the missing children cases, who went missing in different parts of Karachi, a cognizable offence and registering FIRs in that regard.

The NGO alleged that cases of missing children were not properly investigated by the police which resulted in many avoidable deaths.

Two remanded

The administrative judge of antiterrorism courts on Thursday remanded two alleged facilitators of a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in police custody in explosive substance and illicit weapons cases.

Police produced Furqan Bungalzai, alias Azam alias Abdullah, and Ali Akbar, alias Haji, before the court and submitted that they were arrested in a Gadap locality and explosive material and unlicensed weapons were found in their possessions.

The investigating officer contended that the detained suspects were also allegedly involved in the suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan in 2017 and other cases.

The IO sought their custody for questioning and the administrative judge handed them over to police on five-day physical remand with the direction to produce them with a progress report at the next hearing.

The suspects were booked under sections 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and Section 23(1)(a) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Around 80 people were killed and over 350 others wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the packed-to-capacity courtyard of the shrine of the Sufi saint in February 2017.

The main case is being tried before an antiterrorism court in Hyderabad.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019