ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Monday disposed of a petition seeking recovery of a ‘missing person’ after the police produced him before the court.
Interestingly, Muneeb Akram disclosed that he had gone to his village on his own and was not a missing person. Justice Minallah directed the inspector general of the police (IGP) to probe the matter and submit a report in a fortnight.
On Sept 30, the IHC chief justice had asked the secretaries defence, interior, sector commanders of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the chief commissioner of Islamabad to trace the missing person or appear in his court in person.
Justice Minallah inquired from Mr Akram where had he disappeared. In reply, he said on Aug 19 some plainclothes persons visited his house, detained him for six hours, examined his laptop and mobile phone and threatened him of dire consequences.
He said he got frightened and went to the village where he switched off his mobile.
The IHC chief justice asked him why he did not inform his parents about his whereabouts. Mr Akram replied that he knew that his father will bring him back to Islamabad; therefore, he kept it secret.
The representative of the defence ministry told the court that the intelligence agencies had expressed ignorance about the incident. He said that after receiving the court order the defence ministry communicated this to the intelligence agencies working within its ambit. However, after the detailed ground check, these agencies replied that Muneeb was not in their custody.
Justice Minallah, on the other hand, expressed displeasure over the lethargic response of the police. He remarked that the court had already identified the responsible behind enforced disappearances.
The chief justice observed that no agency could pick up any individual within the jurisdiction of a police station without bringing it in the knowledge of the station house officer concerned.
Last month, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appeared before the same court and assured it that he will take steps to counter enforced disappearances.
Earlier on Sept 13, the IHC chief justice had given a 24 hours’ deadline to the intelligence agencies, police and the district administration for the recovery of another missing person, Haseeb Hamza.
He returned home before the expiry of the deadline. When Justice Minallah asked Mr Hamza who had abducted him and where he was taken to, the latter replied that since he was blindfolded he did not know anything about the abductors.
Hamza’s father Zulfiqar Ali, however, told the court that he received a call from his son that he had been released by his abductors and was standing near a hospital.
Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2022