PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court on Friday directed federal and provincial governments to file replies in all the cases of ‘missing persons’ and inform it as to who among them was in the custody of any of the law enforcement agencies.

A single-member bench of PHC Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general, Aamir Javed, and the additional attorney general, Sanaullah Khan, to file the replies in each of the cases at the earliest and also clearly explain whether the alleged detainee was in custody of any intelligence agency, police or any other law enforcement agency.

The bench directed that if the detainees were not in custody of any of the agencies then it should be mentioned in the reply after which available legal course would be adopted for their recovery.

The bench was hearing 40 cases of alleged enforced disappearance wherein close family members of detainees had different claims about the disappearance of their relatives at different duration of time.

PHC chief justice observes justice should be delivered without any fear

The additional attorney general, Sanaullah Khan, said that he had received reports from different respondents in 18 of the 40 cases. He informed the bench that in two of the cases the relevant persons had returned home, whereas in one of the cases the detainee was in an internment centre.

In the remaining 17 cases, he said, the whereabouts of the relevant persons were not known.

The PHC chief justice observed that it was part of his faith that justice should be delivered without any fear. He added that he was answerable to Allah Almighty and if any injustice took place in the court he would be responsible for that.

The chief justice observed that much time had already passed as the cases had been lingering on for many years and some of those had been pending since 2017.

The bench observed that the cases could not be delayed further.

The bench observed that after filing of the replies, it would determine whether to summon any of the responsible persons for making the recovery of the detainees possible.

The PHC chief justice also asked the lawyers appearing for the petitioners to assist the court as to what action could be taken by it if the respondents denied having knowledge regarding whereabouts of the detainees.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2023

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