PESHAWAR, Jan 31: Five family members of two missing men, Abdul Basit and Syed Abdul Majid, were allowed to visit the plastic and reconstructive surgery unit of the Lady Reading Hospital and meet them for a few minutes on Tuesday.
The visit was allowed after the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition of Ms Ruhaifa, the mother of three men picked up by intelligence agencies (one of them died in custody) ordered on Monday production of all the missing people taken away for their alleged involvement in Oct 2009 attacks on the GHQ and ISI’s Hamza Camp in Rawalpindi.
Four of the 11 people taken into custody in connection with the case have died in custody.
Family members of two other detainees, under treatment in the same hospital, were not allowed to meet them.
Gul Roze, brother of one of the missing man, told Dawn that he had come to the hospital hoping that his brother might be there, but was unable to know who the two other detainees were. “I was not allowed to meet them.”
The missing people have been kept in the hospital under strict security with local police and plain-clothe men deployed there.
Qari Abdul Baist, elder brother of the two detained brothers, Abdul Basit and Syed Abdul Majid, told Dawn that he and his elder brother and three sisters had come to know about the presence of their brothers in the hospital after the counsel of intelligence agencies, Raja Irshad, informed the Supreme Court on Monday that four missing men were in the LRH.
He said they had to make hectic efforts to be allowed to briefly meet the detainees on Tuesday night.
“They are in a bad shape and I failed to recognise one of my brothers, Syed Abdul Basit. Both of them have been reduced to skeletons, apparently kept starved by their captors,” said Qari Abdul Basit.“They have been kept in isolation with their faces covered. They could not walk and the legs of Abdul Basit are so stiff he could not even bend them,” Mufti Baist said, adding that a colonel in plainclothes was there.
“My brothers asked me about Abdul Saboor because they did not know that he was dead. I was at a loss what to tell them. I just said he was at a much better place,” he said.
Qari Basit who hails from Kohat said they belonged to a respectable family doing business in Urdu Bazaar, Lahore, for several years and his family could not even think of indulging in acts of terrorism.
He alleged that when they received the body of his brother Saboor a few days ago, it was very cold and it appeared that if he (Saboor) had died over a month ago and his body had been kept in a freezer. Abdul Saboor, he said, was around 85kg when taken into custody by intelligence agencies but his body hardly weighed 30kg and also carried marks of torture.
He said his brothers had been picked up by intelligence agencies on Nov 25, 2007, and after implicated in cases of terrorism in which they were acquitted, along with eight other men, in April, 2010.
Instead of being released they were immediately taken into protective detention and when that was also declared illegal by the high court, they disappeared from the Adiyala jail in mysterious circumstances.
When they faced pressure from the Supreme Court, intelligence agencies informed the apex court on Dec 2010 that 11 men were in their custody and they would be tried by a Court Martial under the Army Act.