ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday expressed displeasure over federal government’s failure to identify the perpetrators of torture on journalists.

He was taking up a petition against human rights violations.

Earlier on May 21, Justice Minallah has highlighted grave violations of human rights, such as in the cases of Absar Alam, Matiullah Jan, Asad Ali Toor and others.

The court noted that the case of Senator Irfan Siddiqui was also a classic example of abuse of powers vested in the executive authorities and needs to be probed.

Justice Minallah termed it as “alarming” as the “state has so far failed to identify the perpetrators of the grave criminal acts.”

These cases are a tip of the iceberg, he added.

Justice Minallah observed that “impunity against such criminal activities and negligence of public functionaries in prevention of such violations continue to remain unchecked. No one has been held accountable for such intolerable violation of fundamental rights.

The court noted that it is a constitutional obligation of the federal government to put an end to impunity against the state’s oppressive treatment of the citizens, particularly in relation to suppressing free speech.

IHC chief justice expressed the hope that while considering the report of the commission constituted to probe the incidents of violations of human rights, the federal government will consider the violations and will ensure that appropriate actions are taken so as to put an end to impunity against abuse of power and failure to identify and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Court seeks details from PTI on petition seeking judicial probe on custodial torture Meanwhile, IHC Justice Aamer Farooq took up the petition of 20 lawmakers of PTI seeking judicial probe on alleged custodial torture and humiliation of Shahbaz Gill, Azam Khan Swati and Saleh Mohammad.

However, the petitioners were not present when the court started hearing the petitions, while their counsel Sher Afzal Khan Marwat appeared before the court and claimed that the PTI leaders where handed over in the custody of intelligence agencies while they were on physical remand.

Justice Farooq inquired from the counsel whether the petitioner filed an application before the magistrate.

The counsel argued that the petitioners were not aggrieved but they brought this matter to the IHC to highlight the custodial torture and humiliation. He said that the issue is not the torture only but what is alarming is stripping under custody accused of clothes.

Justice Farooq advised the counsel to point out any provision of law under which the court may issue order judicial inquiry to probe such allegations and adjourned further hearing till next week.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2022

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