SHC dissatisfied with govt assurances: ‘Missing’ people
KARACHI, Jan 16: The Sindh High Court expressed its dissatisfaction with the assurances made in respect of the ‘missing’ people on behalf of the federal and provincial governments on Tuesday and asked the attorney-general and the advocate-general to appear personally on January 24.
Former student Affan Leghari, who was picked up in December 2005, has since been released and efforts are being made to ascertain the whereabouts of the 10 people whose relatives have moved the court for their recovery and production, federal government standing counsel Asghar Farooqui and Additional Advocate-General Abbas Ali informed a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arab.
Advocate Noor Naz Agha, counsel for Jamhoori Watan Party Vice-President Salim Baloch, however, informed the bench that he was re-arrested on December 31, 2006, after he submitted an affidavit saying that he was detained and mistreated by a federal agency on December 29.
The lawyer said the JWP leader’s brother, Abdullah Baloch, contacted police helpline at 15 as plainclothesmen in two private cars and one police van picked up Salim Baloch from =his residence at Kalakot. A Lyari town police official identifying himself as Mohammad Asif informed him in response to his SOS that Salim Baloch had been taken away by ‘official functionaries’.
Advocates Abdul Hafeez Lakho and Rasheed A. Razvi informed the bench that the agency holding Munir Ahmed Mengal, chief executive of the Dubai-based ‘Baloch Voice’ TV channel, has made another demand for his release. Besides withdrawal of the petition, it told petitioner Abeera Mengal, Munir’s wife, to state in the court that he had been living with his friends and relatives during the period of his confinement. The counsel said they could not agree to the demand but wanted it to be brought on court record.
The bench expressed its surprise and anguish at the conduct of the agencies concerned and remarked that apparently they worked under no legal framework. It asked the principal federal and provincial law officers to personally appear on January 24 in all the habeas corpus petitions, including those of Abdul Wahab Baloch, Mumtaz Hussain and Maulana Tariq. Advocates Maqboolur Rehman, Umar Farooq Khan, Haider Imam Rizvi, A. Mobeen Lakho were among the lawyers who represented other petitioners.
TRIAL WITHHELD: The bench also issued notices to the attorney-general and the advocate-general in a petition by Ms Shahida Jabeen that her husband was arrested and booked in three ‘false’ cases under the Explosive Substances Act in June 2005 but the trial courts were still awaiting the provincial home department’s permission.
She said according to the trial sessions courts, the cases could not proceed without the home department’s permission. The department had not even responded to the court notices and her husband had been in custody for 18 months without trial.
The bench observed that the questions whether Section 7 of the Explosive Substances Act, which required the home department sanction for trial, was constitutionally valid and whether the department official concerned was justified in withholding permission despite knowledge of the detention of the accused might also need consideration. Besides the AGs, the official concerned and the North Karachi Town police officer were also issued notices. Advocates A. Hafeez Lakho and Rashid A. Razvi were asked to assist the court on January 23.