ISLAMABAD, May 4: A middle-aged man missing since 2003 was produced in the Supreme Court on Friday in such a bad shape that the court ordered his immediate medical check-up.
“This skeleton of a man has a reward of Rs3 million on his head in the Red Book of our Interior Ministry,” advocate Shaukat Akhtar Siddiqui told the court, pointing to the emaciated body of Saud Memon brought on a stretcher.
A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan has taken up petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar for recovery of missing people and complaints of Ms Amina Masood Janjua, Saqlain Mehdi, Aisha, Abdul Ghaffar, Amtul Hafiz, Fatima, Mohammad Ikram Alvi, Arif Abbasi and Syed Babar.
The FBI had arrested Mr Memon, 44, in South Africa on March 7, 2003, kept him at the Guantanamo Bay prison for over two years and then handed him over to the ISI. He was brought to the courtroom on a stretcher. Last week, he had been left in a pulp near his house.
On a request of Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim, the counsel of the HRCP, the bench also ordered the government to submit affidavits suggesting who had picked up the recently released 56 of the 136 missing people. The affidavits should state where the people during their captivity had been kept, whether they had been produced in any court, what the charges against them were and why they were freed.
Advocate Ibrahim also asked to set up a commission for probe and to take evidence of people who had been picked up but released, to end this menace.
The HRCP also filed a rejoinder in the court questioning the term ‘freed’ used by the interior ministry for the released persons to be a vague expression concealing all the illegality done by the agency apparatus.
The court also directed Farhatullah Babar to submit his proposals in writing for reining in state agencies in respect of missing people.
In his suggestions, Mr Babar had stated that since the ISI and the MI were answerable to the Ministry of Defence, their heads should be asked by the ministry to furnish affidavits certifying about the missing people. Such affidavits, according to him, would be helpful in holding accountable those responsible for disappearance of people and torturing them without any legal basis. He had also proposed that the interior ministry should be directed to place advertisements in leading national dailies and on the electronic media inviting citizens to come forward with details about the missing people, giving their names, addresses, date of disappearance, circumstances of disappearance and any other relevant information they knew.
The court directed to shift Mr Memon to the Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi or any convenient health facility for his medical check-up and restrained the authorities not to arrest him before approval of the court.
On Friday, Deputy Attorney-General Tariq Khokhar presented a compliance report regarding missing Atiqur Rehman, a scientist in Nilour and picked up on the day of his marriage; Faisal Faraz, a mechanical engineer; Imran Munir, Qari Saifullah Akhtar and Naeem Noor Khan.
He said that except for Imran Munir, the whereabouts of none were traceable. Mr Munir was facing a trial in the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) on spying charges, he added. The court directed to arrange a meeting between the detained person and his family.
The bench, however, was not impressed with the pace of progress in the case and observed that agencies had to provide information about the whereabouts when they had apprehended the people.
On Faisal Faraz, the court summoned the district police officer and the station house officer concerned, who had accepted that Mr Faraz had been picked up by intelligence agencies, along with relevant record.
On Attiqur Rehman, the NWFP Inspector General of Police and the Abbotabad DPO were summoned for Friday next.
The court was informed that National Crisis Management Cell director Col Javed Iqbal Lodhi had been appointed the resource person in the missing people case. The court also directed the government to submit concise statements on all the petitions.