ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed surprise that a group of four kidnapped persons belonging to the Hazara community still had no idea about their abductors despite having remained in their custody for three years.
“It is strange that abducted persons [who] remained in abduction could not identify who abducted them,” wondered Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed while heading a three-judge SC bench.
The court, while hearing a case relating to targeted killings of the members of Hazara community in Quetta, directed Inspector General of Balochistan Muhammad Tahir Rai to look into the matter and ensure that the abductors are brought to justice and dealt with in accordance with law.
The four abducted persons were present in the courtroom. They complained that their bank accounts had been frozen on the directive of the National Counter Terrorism Authority and as a result they could not get their salaries for the last three years.
The court directed the joint interior secretary to look into the matter and ensure that their accounts are unfrozen so that their salaries could be released.
Barrister Iftikhar Raza Khan informed the court that members of the Hazara community were facing difficulties as the passport authorities demanded extra documents from them to show their loyalty to Balochistan and the country.
The joint interior secretary assured the court that he would take up the matter with the passport office in Quetta.
The court directed the secretary to ensure that if any official was found committing excesses he not only faces departmental action but cases are also initiated against him. “They are government servants and, therefore, should not cause any problem for the people who come to obtain their passports,” the chief justice said, observing that obtaining passports was a right of the citizens which could not be denied by the government officials.
Gul Agha, wife of Dr Ali Raza who is still missing, informed the court that he was abducted in 2013. According to her, he had remained with Levies for three years and after that his custody was allegedly given to one Haji Abdul Rashid of Quetta, she said.
She alleged that despite providing the demanded money Haji Abdul Rashid failed to come up with his promises to help her in release of her husband and was hurling threats at her.
The court noted that Abdul Rashid was acquitted by the Anti-Terrorism Court because of want of evidence against him though he was nominated in the FIR. “It is a matter to worry that despite the fact that the wife had given the name responsible for the abduction of her husband to the police, they had failed to recover the missing person. This is a total failure on the part of the police,” the chief justice regretted.
He deplored that despite the fact that Dr Raza had gone missing for the last six years, police had done nothing to recover him, adding that police rather always showed sympathy towards the accused than the complainant.
The chief justice said police had become insensitive towards the problems of the common citizens and, while pointing towards the Balochistan IG, wondered how the confidence in police would be restored when instead of taking action against the accused, they always harassed the victims’ families.
“The police lack the capacity to investigate because the urge to initiate action against the accused has dried up. The superior judiciary has taken a number of initiatives, including holding a number of seminars; besides, the state has spent millions of rupees on training of the officers and sent them abroad, but still the police have no idea how to conduct proper investigations,” the chief justice bemoaned.
“They have no respect for the law and have put the country at the verge of destruction,” he regretted, adding that it was usual that the accused eventually get released because of want of evidence. The chief justice said that when a case was registered, police always had a very narrow window to collect evidence within time.
The bench ordered the Balochistan IG to recover Dr Raza and produce him before the Supreme Court. The case will be taken up after one month.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2021