ISLAMABAD, Dec 3: Terrorism suspects and court cases involving missing people have been a dime a dozen since 9/11 in Pakistan.
However, in a strange twist of affairs, one lingering case of litigation curiously involved a mother whose quest for her missing son for four years has led her to accuse a set of women of kidnapping her son.
On Monday, Zahida Parveen, the mother of Mohammad Adnan, urged the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to try Memoona Akhtar, Robina Kausar, Sabina Karim and two men, Mohammad Awais and Mohammad Maroof, in an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for abducting her son.
The accused belong to Tehrik-i-Islami (TI), an organisation outlawed in 2002.
Adnan Haider Randhawa, Ms Parveen’s counsel, argued in front of Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan at the IHC.
The lawyer expressed fears that since Adnan, a student of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Taxila, was familiar with remote control technology, he might have been handed over to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in 2008. He pointed out that terrorists needed to make bombs that explode through remote control.
According to the court documents, Adnan was a final year student.
An FIR registered in the Sabzi Mandi police station revealed that on Oct 19, 2008, Adnan left his home for the university, but was abducted from the street.
The next morning he called his mother, but spoke with great difficulty.
Adnan informed his mother that his life was in danger, but cautioned her against telling anyone about his predicament.
According to the petition, Parveen then went to Memoona for help. But the latter told the mother to keep quiet and assured her that she (Memoona) would help trace Adnan.
A few days later, the petition added, Sabina, who is the head of the women’s student wing of Tehrik-i-Islami, came to Parveen’s house and gave her a letter from Adnan.
The letter, however, was not in Adnan’s handwriting.
The distraught mother refused to be satisfied with the letter despite the assurances of Sabina and Memoona.
A second, typed letter, left anonymously at her doorstep, told Parveen that her son had embraced ‘shahadat’ (martyrdom).
According to the petition, neighbours told Parveen that Memoona, Sabina, Robina, Owais and Maroof had abducted her son at the behest of TTP.
Ghulam Rasool, the missing boy’s father, told Dawn that as neighbours he and his family used to visit Memoona’s house off and on.
ATTACK ON MOSQUE: The father alleged that the women were involved in other terrorist activities, including a suicide attack on a mosque in Rawalpindi’s Parade Lane, a military area, in 2009 during Friday prayers. At least 37 people, mostly retired as well as serving military officers and their children, lost their lives when five attackers opened fire on and hurled grenades at a crowd of about 150 worshipers. All five militants died by either blowing themselves up or fighting the soldiers inside the mosque.
According to him, Mohammad Asghar Ghauri, who is the son of Yasmin Hameed, a ‘Naib Nazima’ (deputy chief) of Tehrik-i-Islami, was involved in the mosque attack.
Ghulam Rasool said that the SC had also taken notice of the missing boy and after getting details from the police had observed that sufficient evidence “has come on record connecting them (the accused person) prima facie with the commission of alleged offence”.
The petition alleged that police investigations carried out under the Supreme Court orders revealed that Memoona and her associates were involved in kidnapping young boys and sending them to Waziristan for training in carrying out terrorist attacks.
It said that Memoona’s son Hasham, who was a commander of TTP, was killed in Waziristan.
According to the petition, the prosecution added Section 6 of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 in the 173 report (challan) of the case. The case was remanded to the ATC, but the special judge on May 25 this year observed that the law was not applicable to terror-related offences.
Chaudhry Abdul Aziz, who is the counsel of Memoona and her associates, told the court that there was no evidence to prove that his clients persuaded Adnan to take part in militancy.
He said that the accused women were well educated - Robina has a master’s degree in English literature while Sabina is an MA in Mathematics. Memoona is also well educated and is married to a government officer.
He alleged that Adnan was a “right wing sympathizer” who often tried to convince his fellow students to carry out ‘jihad’.
He requested the court that the case may not be remanded to the ATC again.
The court has reserved its judgment.