SC seeks details of ‘missing persons’
ISLAMABAD: The top court has sought complete details of ‘missing’ persons who are detained in internment centres.
The internment centres are set up in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) under the Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulations, which allows the civil government to confine persons accused of terrorist activities. At least 45 internment centres are operating in the country
After the passage of almost one year, a two-judge bench of apex court – Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ijazul Ahsen – has taken up the missing persons cases.
The bench has expressed serious concern over the government’s failure to initiate trials of persons who have been detained for many years in the internment centres.
It also ordered the federal government to arrange meetings of four missing persons with their families within a week.
Justice Ahsan observed that they are seeking a comprehensive report regarding the details of detainees and their offences, and where they are imprisoned.
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan lamented that the families he saw in the courtroom at the Peshawar High Court during his tenure as chief justice there are still appearing before various benches.
The bench also asked the federal government to appraise why people have been detained without trial, adding that if someone did commit an offence, he should be punished after being tried.
The court also observed that the Supreme Court has no answers to offer to the families of missing persons, adding that it is a matter of concern that the apex court is not being given satisfactory replies.
During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti submitted the progress report of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance. New NAB Chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal is still the chairman of the commission.
According to the report, 4,229 enforced disappearance cases have been registered since 2011. While the commission has decided 2,939 cases so far, 1,386 cases are still pending.
The bench has referred 15 missing persons case related to the Lal Masjid incident to the commission and expected that it would decide these matters within one month in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
Rights activist Amina Masood Janjua lamented that there were initially 137 missing persons cases, but now that number has swelled to over 4,000 cases.
Regarding her husband’s case, the Punjab government submitted that he is not alive. However, Amina requested permission from the bench to share some classified information in chambers. The hearing was later adjourned until November 13.
Fake degree case
Meanwhile, a division bench led by Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh sought a reply from the NAB chairman regarding the alleged fake degree of NAB Lahore Director General Major (retd) Saleem Shahzad.
The bench, while hearing a suo motu case regarding illegal appointments, deputations, out-of-turn promotions at NAB, has also issued a notice to him over Maj Shahzad’s alleged fake degree.
NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Imran Shah submitted that the committee has examined the cases of 52 grade-18 officers, while 40 matters have yet to be examined. The bench asked the committee to complete its work within two months.