Piling missing persons cases in Karachi worries SHC
The Sindh High Court expressed its concern on Friday over the increasing number of missing person cases in Karachi and directed the federal and provincial governments to make efforts for finding these people.
Hearing identical petitions against the alleged detention of Mohammad Altaf, Syed Nabeel Shahid, Shafiqur Rehman, Mohammad Nadeem Abbasi, and Mohammad Javed among others, the court observed that over 400 petitions had been filed for finding missing persons, but there no positive steps were taken to address the grievances of the petitioners.
The petitioners’ counsel submitted that the court should set up a mechanism under which missing person cases could be heard without any delay as it was a matter of life and liberty of citizens.
They submitted that the missing persons were picked up by the law enforcement agencies during raids conducted in different parts of the city and their whereabouts were unknown.
The court directed the federal and provincial law officers to file comments on the petitions and submit reports on the progress made in missing person cases.
The SHC granted pre-arrest protective bail to an additional director of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology in a National Accountability Bureau inquiry.
Petitioners Ghulam Shabbir Bhugio and his son Shamim Ahmed Bhugio had moved the court against the issuance of call-up notice by NAB in an inquiry pertaining to the misuse of authority against former Fuuast vice chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal.
The petitioners submitted that they had nothing to do with any offence related to transaction of money. They submitted that they had private dispute over the purchase of plot in Lahore that was subsequently transferred by the complainant to NAB. They said they would cooperate in the investigation but feared their arrest in connection with the inquiry seeking pre-arrest protective bail.
The court granted pre-arrest bail to the petitioners on a surety of Rs500,000 each and directed them to submit their passports to the nazir of the court.
Daniel Pearl case
The SHC adjourned the hearing of a appeal filed by convicts in the American journalist Daniel Pearl kidnapping and murder case on the request of the defence counsel.
Ahmed Omer Sheikh and three others have filed appeals against their conviction in the case.
Pearl, a US national and the South Asian region bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped on January 23, 2002 in Karachi and later beheaded by his captors when their demands were not met. The appellant’s counsel sought provision of facilities to the convicts as per the jail manual.
The main accused, Ahmed Omer Sheikh, was sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing the journalist, and his three accomplices – Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil – were sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs500,000 each by a Hyderabad anti-terrorism court on July 15, 2002.
Hashim and other co-accused – Asim alias Qasim, Hassan, Ahmed Bhai, Imtiaz Siddiqui and Amjad Farooqui – were declared proclaimed offenders by the court. The appeals of the convicts are pending at the SHC since 2002.