PESHAWAR: The district and sessions judge of Khyber tribal district has granted bail to a man, who was charged with waging war against the state after remaining in detention without trial for almost 10 years.

Judge Shahid Khan accepted the bail petition of suspect Gul Deenar, a resident of Bara, asking him to furnish two surety bonds valuing Rs100,000 each.

The court will try the petitioner afterward.

The petitioner was taken into custody by the security forces in Khyber district (then Khyber Agency) on June 26, 2009. His whereabouts remained unknown for nine years before his father, Maldeenkhel, was informed in 2017 about his detention by Mehsud Scouts.

The father was allowed to meet the detainee.

The petitioner claimed that he was shifted to the Peshawar Central Prison in Sept 2018 from where the family was updated about his presence.

The petitioner’s counsel, Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, said when his client was handed over to the administration, the Joint Investigation Team had clearly mentioned in its report that he was picked up in June 2009.

He said the petitioner had been kept in illegal detention since 2009.

The lawyer said the JIT report didn’t place the petitioner in the category ‘black’ and instead, his name was put in ‘grey’ category of terror suspects showing nothing had been proved against him but even then, he had charged under Pakistan Penal Code Section 121 (waging war against state) and Section 121-A (conspiracy to wage war).

He said except the JIT report, there was nothing on record against his client.

The lawyer said it was unconstitutional to keep a person behind bars for 10 long years without trial.

He also said it was inhuman on part of law-enforcement agencies to keep a person away from family for 10 years without him being involved in any offence.

The lawyer said the petitioner had three minor children.

He said under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the prior permission of the government was mandatory for the detention of a person under PPC sections 121 and 121-A but no such consent was there for the petitioner’s detention.

The lawyer said under the Constitution and CrPC, a suspect had to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, while under the Army Act, the grounds for arrest had to be provided to a person within 24 hours of arrest.

He wondered how a person could be detained without trial for such a long period.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2019