Three ‘missing’ men in govt custody
ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: The federal government said in the Supreme Court on Wednesday that three out of six recently traced persons from a list of 41 people “missing” for many years are under its custody for security reasons.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and Justice Saiyed Saeed Ashhad took up the matter on the application of Mrs Amina Masood Janjua regarding missing persons, including her husband, whose unexplained incarceration for the last one and a half years is believed to have been caused by his suspected links with Al Qaeda or jihadi outfits.
Attorney-General Makhdoom Ali Khan informed the bench that computer expert Mohammad Mansoor and businessman Malik Zulfikar had been detained under the Security of Pakistan Act, 1952. They were picked up by intelligence agencies in March 2005 and June 2006, respectively.
Likewise, Alim Tariq is with the Punjab police under the Anti-Terrorism Act. However, Mittha Khan Marri, Jan Mohammad and Mohammad Saleem Baluch had been released, the attorney-general said.
At the last hearing, the apex court was informed that the attorney-general would present a comprehensive report on efforts made by the government in locating the rest of 16 missing persons out of a total of 41.
Mr Khan also informed the bench that the list of disappeared in fact contained the names of 43 persons and not 41. He said that every possible effort was being made to locate the whereabouts of the rest. “I personally have talked to different intelligence agencies to locate the whereabouts of the missing persons.”About three affidavits filed by the recently released persons claiming to see other missing colleagues in the custody of intelligence agencies, the attorney-general clarified that certain information given in the affidavits were incorrect.
The hearing, however, was to adjourn abruptly for Thursday when the court was informed that Justice M. Javed Buttar, who was sitting in another bench, had suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a local hospital.
On the intervention of a human rights lawyer, C.M. Farooq, who was recently picked up by an intelligence agency and released after two weeks, the bench directed the attorney-general to listen to him if he had some important information.
In his affidavit, Mr Farooq claimed that during the detention he had seen Masood Janjua, Faisal Faraz, Attiqur Rehman, Mohammad Altaf, Hafiz Abdul Basit, Obaidullah, Hafiz Idrees Abbasi, Gul Mohammad and many others at detention cells of the intelligence agencies.
After the hearing, family members of the disappeared persons surrounded the attorney-general and pleaded for his help in identifying their near and dear ones.