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Pakistan court tells general to recover 30 missing

Published Jul 14, 2012 03:22am

Iftikhar Chaudhry
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. — File photo/Online

QUETTA: Pakistan's top judge on Friday ordered a paramilitary commander to produce 30 people in court, saying there was evidence troops were involved in their disappearance.

It is the latest effort from judges designed to bring powerful military and intelligence agencies to book over mass arrests of alleged terror suspects, who are never seen again.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ordered Balochistan Frontier Corps commander Major General Obaidullah Khattak to produce the missing before the court in the provincial capital Quetta on July 24.

The 30 people were allegedly abducted in Totak Khuzdar district in February 2011. The military has been accused of rights violations in its bid to put down a separatist insurgency in the southwest province of Balochistan.

“It is his (Khattak's) duty to comply with the court orders and affect the recovery of missing persons and produce them,” Chaudhry said.

He rejected the commander's denial of responsibility as “unacceptable... in the wake of evidence against the force in picking up missing persons”.

Judge Jawad S. Khawaja said medical reports showed that two other tribesmen, whose case is also being investigated, were shot at close range.

“If there are some rogue elements in the force, they should be exposed,” Khawaja said.

In February, seven men allegedly held by intelligence services appeared before the Supreme Court in Islamabad, more than a year and a half after being allegedly arrested in connection with terror attacks.

It was an unprecedented development that challenged perceptions that the feared Inter-Services Intelligence operates above the law.