Missing persons case: Supreme Court slams agencies for illegal detention

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 10:30:45 by


The increasing number of cases of illegal detention allegedly at the hands of the country’s premier intelligence agencies forced the Supreme Court to pass a strong verdict on Monday ordering a halt to the practice.

Hearing the case of Umer Mahmood, 24, who was abducted on March 10 and recovered on March 16 following suo motu action, the court observed that undoubtedly the detained man was recovered on account of the efforts of the Islamabad police. But the question arises how long such practices will continue, the Supreme Court asked.

A three member-bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked the attorney general to take up the matter of illegal detention with higher authorities.

During the hearing, the chief justice asked if there were any rules in the country or if it was a jungle, to which Justice Khilji Arif Hussain quipped, “There are even rules of the jungle that must be followed.”

The Inspector General of Police Islamabad Bani Amin told the court that the missing man, Umar Mehmood, was recovered due to the police’s formal and informal efforts. On a court query, he stated that “agencies had abducted the detenue” and that he made a request to his counterpart for helping him trace Umer.

When the chief justice asked whether he contacted the Inspector General of Police, Punjab for the case, Amin said he had contacted the ISI. When he was further asked to disclose who was involved in the abduction, he replied that he had contacted all three agencies, the ISI, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau. He, however, said that as the FIR has been registered and the matter is still being investigated, he could not yet ascertain the involvement of any agencies.

The court asked Amin to thoroughly examine the case and reach a conclusion within a period of two weeks and submit report to the Registrar of this court. “…If need be, this case/application shall be fixed for further proceedings,” the court order read.

The chief justice said the court has frequently reiterated that any person involved in any criminal activity against the nation or the state should be dealt with according to the law after a case is registered. Without registering a case, detention is illegal. Keeping Umer Mehmood Wali Khan in detention for a period of six days prima facie has no justification, Justice Chaudhry said.

Mehmood Ahmed Khan, Umer’s father, openly expressed his apprehension that he or someone else from his family may be arrested again. Sharing his fear, he said: “I can’t peruse this case anymore.”

Umer was abducted in the presence of his parents on March 10 near Orchard scheme Islamabad. According to Umer’s father, the people who abducted his son had introduced themselves to be members of CID, a branch of the police department.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.

Islamabad News Sources -2

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