Missing Hizb man not in ISI-MI custody, court told

Published December 15, 2020
The Ministry of Defence informed the court that an activist of the banned outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir was not in the custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence. — IHC website/File
The Ministry of Defence informed the court that an activist of the banned outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir was not in the custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence. — IHC website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Defence on Monday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that an activist of the banned outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT) was not in the custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).

Justice Ghulam Azam Qambrani was hearing a petition filed by Saadia Rahat, a practicing lawyer, against the abduction of her spouse Naveed Butt, former spokesperson for HuT, who has been missing since 2012.

As per the FIR lodged against the disappearance of the HuT activist, Naveed was allegedly abducted by officials of intelligence agencies on May 11, 2012, when he reached his house at the Government Employees Cooperative Housing Society in Lahore along with his school-going children.

According to lawyer, her husband is missing for eight years

The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances headed by retired Justice Javed Iqbal, who is also the incumbent chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), had in 2018 expressed the possibility that Naveed might have been picked up by “personnel of secret establishment and is being held in their illegal confinement”.

He had issued a directive for production of the missing person before the commission on Jan 4, 2018. But despite a lapse of almost three years, the commission had failed to implement its own order.

Subsequently, Ms Rahat filed the petition in the IHC.

The defence ministry in its written reply stated: “It is submitted that the agencies working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence i.e. Directorate General ISI and Military Intelligence Directorate, GHQ were asked to provide requisite information regarding the whereabouts of alleged missing person namely Mohammad Naveed Athar Hussain Butt. In response, both the agencies have confirmed that the said missing person is not held in their custody.”

According to her petition, Naveed was on his way home after picking up his children from their school when intelligence agencies’ officials allegedly picked him up near Liaquatabad in Lahore.

The petition alleged that Naveed had received threatening calls from unknown callers before he went missing.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2020

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