ISLAMABAD, June 20: The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned the secretaries of interior and defence on June 25 to explain non-compliance with a court order regarding legal counsel’s access to one of the missing persons, Imran Munir, sentenced to eight-year imprisonment by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in a spying case.
The court also sought a complete record of proceedings of the court martial and a report on health condition of Imran Munir who is currently in the military custody in Jhelum.
A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and Justice Falak Sher took up petitions filed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar for the recovery of missing persons and complaints of Ms Amina Masood Janjua, Saqlain Mehdi, Aisha, Abdul Ghaffar, Amtul Hafiz, Fatima, Mohammad Ikram Alvi, Arif Abbasi, Syed Babar and others.
During the hearing, HRCP chairperson Asma Jehangir claimed that what necessitated Imran Munir’s arrest was not spying but a love affair with a woman relative of an Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) officer.
The interior ministry had categorically denied before a Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court in 2006 that Imran was in the custody of any intelligence agency, but later admitted before the Supreme Court that he was with them on charges of spying.
Advocate Abdul Mujeeb Pirzada, representing Imran Munir, complained that he was not allowed to meet his client despite court orders and said the dignity of the court was being violated by the government.
National Crisis Management Cell’s deputy director Col Javed Iqbal Lodhi informed the court that Imran Munir had been sentenced to eight-year imprisonment by the FGCM on espionage charges.
The bench served notice on the federal defence and interior secretaries to appear in person on Monday and directed Deputy Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokar to prepare a medical report about the health condition of Imran Munir, and provide record of proceedings of the court martial.
The court was informed that five more of the remaining 156 missing persons had been traced. Out of the five traced persons, Mehruddin Marri is at his home in Badin. Asaif Bladi, Chetan Kumar and G.M. Bhgat, however, are absconders in an explosive case. The fifth, Imran Ali Naqvi, is detained under the Security of Pakistan Act and a meeting with his mother is being arranged.
Col Lodhi said 107 persons from the list of 254 missing persons had been traced.Justice Javed Iqbal observed that cases of missing persons were on the rise and it appeared that a special bench would be needed to conduct regular hearing of such cases or a commission needed to be formed to deal with the cases. He hinted that at the end of the case, the court would fix responsibility to punish the authorities responsible.
Justice Javed Iqbal directed Crisis Management Cell’s director-general Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema to be present in the court on every date of hearing since the matter was very serious.
The directives came when HRCP secretary-general Iqbal Haider sought orders to obtain affidavits of persons who had been released from the custody of intelligence agencies.
“These affidavits will help trace other missing persons, besides helping the court in fixing the responsibility of their detention,” he said and suggested to the court to summon the people who had been released.
“They are willing to reveal horrible facts of their detention provided the court ensures their protection,” he said, adding that their horrifying stories “make all of us weep”.
The court directed all parties to provide a consolidated list of missing persons by next date of hearing to ascertain the number of traced, released and missing persons.
The DAG said the wife of Khalid Kawaja had filed an application stating that her husband was in a critical condition and despite orders of the High Court to release, he was still under detention. The court ordered that he might be released if he is not involved in any other case.
About Faisal Faraz, the DAG informed the bench that an FIR had been registered at a police station in Lahore in compliance with the court’s orders, but police were clueless about his whereabouts. Similarly, his companion Masood Janjua and one Attiqur Rehman were also not traceable.
Amina Masood Janjua, the wife of Mr Janjua, told the bench that Maj-Gen Shafqaat had told her father-in-law last year that her husband was alive and was in the custody of the army. This disclosure was an admission to the fact that her husband had been held by the intelligence authorities, she claimed.
Fakhrudin G. Ibrahim, counsel for the HRCP, said his organisation had identified 200 cases of missing people who, it believed, were in the custody of security agencies. The hearing has been adjourned for July 4.