ISLAMABAD: A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday suspended a judgment that had imposed fines on secretary defence, Islamabad chief commissioner, inspector general of police (IGP), deputy commissioner and station house officer over their failure to trace the whereabouts of a man who was abducted from his residence in F-10 in 2016.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, in July 2018 issued the judgement over a petition filed by Mahera Sajid, seeking recovery of her spouse, IT professional Sajid Mehmood; he was abducted in front of his family members and neighbours in 2016.

Justice Minallah had pointed out that “enforced disappearance is one of the most cruel and inhuman acts and categorised as a crime against humanity.”

According to the judgement, fines of Rs100,000 each were imposed on then Ministry of Defence Secretary retired Lt General Zamirul Hassan Shah, Chief Commissioner Zulfiqar Haider, Inspector General of Police Khalid Khan Khattak and District Magistrate retired Capt Mushtaq Ahmed.

“A cost of Rs300,000 is imposed on Mr Qaiser Niaz, inspector who was the in charge of police station, Shalimar on 14-03-2016,” it added.

The ministries of defence and interior along with the district administration, however, challenged the verdict. The IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzaib suspended Justice Minallah’s judgment to the extent of imposition of costs.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar appeared before the court on behalf of the federal government saying that imposition of the cost on state functionaries was unprecedented and asked the court to set aside the judgment.

After preliminary hearing, the bench has suspended the judgment till further order and issued a notice to the petitioner.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2020