The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday ordered the police to present Abdul Rehman Khan — who was allegedly abducted and illegally confined by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) — in court on the next date of hearing "without fail".
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Justice Kausar Sultana Hussain, issued the order on a habeas corpus petition filed by Abdul Rehman's father, Abdul Moiz Khan.
The petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that 26-year-old Abdul Rehman, who is a masters student at the NED University in Karachi, was allegedly "abducted" by 12 to 15 unidentified armed personnel from his house on the night of June 3.
"The abductors had come in two official police mobiles, two white Corolla cars and one double-cabined vehicle. Apparently, the incident has been orchestrated not by private miscreants but law enforcement agencies with tacit involvement of the Sindh police," it stated.
Abdul Moiz said in the petition that the police had initially rejected his application which he had attempted to submit later that same night, following which he had to send the petition via a courier.
He also stated that it was not the first time his son had gone "missing". Abdul Rehman had earlier travelled from the metropolis to Rawalpindi in connection with his professional work on January 11 and later went to visit his relatives in Taxila.
However, when Abdul Rehman reached Taxila, his mobile phone was suddenly switched off and his family lost contact with him. Subsequently, the family tried to locate him but could not find any clue, after which they approached the Lahore High Court (LHC), according to the petition.
Abdul Rehman had been "released by his unknown captors on February 4" in Rawalpindi's Hasan Abdal area, the petition continued. "[He] apprised his family pertaining to the details of his abduction, and in such regard, reproduced a written statement of the same duly signed by him."
According to the petition, that statement showed the student was allegedly abducted by "entities that interrogated him".
"It is the legitimate apprehension of the petitioner that such abduction was tantamount to state-enforced disappearance done by law enforcement agencies, who had subsequently released [him] in light of the honourable high court's order and after finding no incriminating evidence of any unlawful activity."
The petitioner stated that his son also suffered from a neurological disorder and he feared that these incidents would lead to his health deteriorating beyond recovery.
The petition argued that Abdul Rehman had been "abducted not once but twice by LEAs and kept under illegal confinement", which was a violation of the rights granted to him under Articles 4 (right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law), 9 (right to security), 10 (safeguards against arrest and detention), 10-A (right to fair trial), 14 (inviolability of dignity of man), 15 (freedom of movement), 19-A (right to information) and 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution.
It nominated the state, Ministry of Interior, Directorate of Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence, director general Rangers (Sindh), Sindh government, Sindh inspector general of police and Karachi Central SSP as respondents.
The petition requested the court to direct the respondents to present his son in court and deal with him in accordance with the law and the Constitution, and disclose the charges against him if any.
It also requested the court to proceed against the respondents for "illegally detaining and arresting" Abdul Rehman without the due process of the law.
In its order, the bench noted that the petitioner's counsel, Jibran Nasir, had informed the court that a first information report (FIR) had not been registered verbatim on the petitioner's application.
"SDPO Gulberg undertakes that if the complainant appears, his further statement will be recorded accordingly and investigation will entrusted to an officer not below the rank of DSP, who has experience to deal with such matters.
"After such formality, the investigation officer shall make efforts to produce the alleged detainee before this court without fail," it added.
Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing till August 9.