A SCREENGRAB from Shakirullah Marwat’s video message.
A SCREENGRAB from Shakirullah Marwat’s video message.

PESHAWAR / DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Shakirullah Marwat, the district and sessions judge of South Waziristan, who had appealed to the government and judiciary to accept the demands of his abductors after being kidnapped a day earlier, was recovered late Sunday night, Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) confirmed to Dawn.

The Dera Ismail Khan CTD said the abductee reached home safely after being recovered ‘unconditionally’. Information Adviser to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif later also confirmed the judge’s safe recovery.

In a video statement sent from an unknown location, Mr Marwat earlier stated: “Taliban brought me here. It is a jungle and a war is going on.”

In the minute-long message, the sessions judge said his release was only possible if the militants’ dema­nds were accepted. “I request the federal and provincial governments, chief justices of Peshawar High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan to make sure the Taliban’s demands are accepted and my recovery is made sure as soon as possible,” he said.

Prior to his release, Marwat asked govt to accept kidnappers’ demands; driver tells police abductors had warned of ‘serious consequences’

How Marwat was kidnapped

An FIR of Mr Marwat’s abduction was registered at the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) police station on Sunday under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and other provisions.

A CTD official said the judge’s driver, Sher Ali Khan Mehsud, stated in the FIR that he along with Mr Marwat was going to D.I. Khan from Tank when 25 to 30 people equipped with sophisticated weapons intercepted their car at Garah Mohabbat Morr, forcing it to stop. They then opened fire on the vehicle.

The gunmen blindfolded the driver and five of them boarded the judge’s car and drove away. When they stopped after some 40 minutes, the vehicle had reached a forest.

The FIR added that the judge was dressed in pants and shirt, but the kidnappers took out a shalwar kameez suit from the car and asked him to wear it. The kidnappers then set the car on fire.

According to the FIR, the kidnappers belong to different tribes, including Marwat, Mehsud, Gandapur and Afghans.

The FIR said that the kidnappers asked the driver to convey to the authorities that their relatives were kept in jails and they would release the judge if their demands were met, but warnad of serious consequences otherwise. Later, the kidnappers took away the judge on a motorcycle.

‘Bid to undermine system’

While condemning the incident, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council said the judge’s abduction was an attempt to undermine the judicial system in the country.

The council added that the incident is a question mark on the efficiency of law enforcement agencies.

Taking notice of the incident, Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur directed the IGP to take measures for the safe recovery of the judge. “Steps should be taken on emergency basis to recover the judge,” the chief minister said.

A joint investigation team comprising CTD officials from D.I. Khan and Tank was later formed for the recovery of the abducted judge. Sources said during the joint operation of security forces, there was no loss of life or property.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2024

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