DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Shakirullah Marwat, the sessions judge of South Waziristan district, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from the Garah Mohabaat Adda area of Dera Ismail Khan district on Saturday, police said.

Officials told Dawn the judge was intercepted by around 10 to 15 armed mot­orcyclists while travelling on the D.I. Khan-Tank Road towards Dera Ismail Khan. While the gunmen left the judge’s driver un­harmed, they set fire to the judge’s official vehicle before fleeing with Mr Marwat.

Garah Mohabaat, loca­t­ed at the border of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan districts, falls in the jurisdiction of the Hathla police station of the restive Kula­chi tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan.

While Mr Marwat is posted to the South Waziristan district, the sessions court functions from Tank due to security concerns.

The police reached the spot after the incident and launched a search for the kidnappers.

Asmat Ullah Gandapur, SHO of the Manji Khel police station, told Dawn that Tank and Dera police reached the scene and cordoned off the area to ensure the safe recovery of the judge.

Mr Gandapur said the road where the abduction occurred passes from Bhagwal Adda to Loni, a dangerous area through Graha Mohabbat.

Residents told Dawn that officers’ movements on the Tank-Dera Road continue constantly because the officers posted in Tank and South Waziristan spend the night in Dera instead of Tank.

Police officials said Dera Ismail Khan police officials previously manned the spot, but they left after an attack.

After the judge’s kidnapping, Chief Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim convened an emergency meeting at the Peshawar High Court.

Official sources said the meeting was attended by the two most senior judges of the PHC, Justices Ijaz Anwar and Syed Mohammad Attique Shah, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Mohammad Abid Majeed, Additional Chief Secretary (P&D) Imtiaz Shah, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IGP Akhter Hayat Khan.

The chief justice and other judges directed the IGP and other officers to take steps to ensure Mr Marwat’s immediate recovery.

They said the provincial government was responsible for providing security to the judges. The officers were asked to share any developments with the PHC’s registrar.

Mr Majeed and IGP Khan informed the meeting about the steps they had taken so far. They said they were in contact with the regional police officer of Dera Ismail Khan, commissioner D.I. Khan, district police officers in the region, and other security agencies.

According to officials, Mr Majeed told the meeting that he had been monitoring the entire situation and would share any development with the court as soon as he received further information.

The Dera Ismail Khan district, the hometown of KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, has witnessed an uptick in attacks on police and other law enforcement agencies over the past few months.

Last week, 12 law enforcement personnel, including eight Pakistan Customs officials, were slain in two separate attacks in the district, while two members each of police and FC also lost their lives to the militant attacks.

Similarly, in February, a militant attack on the Daraban police station resulted in the death of more than 10 police officials and injuries to several others.

In December, 23 army personnel lost their lives and 30 others were injured in a suicide attack on a compound located next to the Daraban police station.

Adam Khan Wazir in South Waziristan also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2024

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