Pakistan to charge people involved in Enforced Disappearance under Anti Terrorism Act

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will now charge those individuals and officials involved in enforced disappearance of citizens under its Anti-terrorism Act.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday made the judgment in the case of a missing IT expert who was abducted from his home in F-10 area of the capital.

The 47-page judgement, authored by Justice Athar Minallah  defines the concept of enforced disappearance and declared that individuals involved in abducting and detaining citizens at unknown locations may be charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Dawn reported.

The court lashed at government functionaries for failure to recover Mr Mehmood and fined them and expressed displeasure with intelligence agencies – Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau – and directed the federal government to bear the monthly expenses of the missing individual’s family, reads the report.

The judgement was passed on a petition filed by Mahera Sajid, the wife of missing IT expert Sajid Mehmood.

On March 14, 2016, around a dozen masked individuals arrived in two vehicles described as “double cabins” forcefully entered Mr Mehmood’s home in F-10 and abducted him.

The father of the detenue, Capt Dilawar Khan, filed a complaint with the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances on March 18.

Justice Minallah observed that it was the “duty and obligation” of the state to take prompt and effective action in the event of an alleged enforced disappearance.

The court ordered the petitioner to be paid Rs117,500 per month, or such amount as may be determined pursuant to verification. The arrears must also be calculated and paid to the petitioner with effect from March 14, 2016.

The federal government has been directed to conduct an inquiry, through an officer not lower in rank than a federal secretary or a committee, into the failure of the criminal justice system.

The court noted that state functionaries had failed to perform their constitutional duty to protect the citizen. It has fined Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah, former Islamabad chief commissioner Zulfiqar Haider, former inspector general of Islamabad police Khalid Khan Khattak and former Islamabad district magistrate retired Capt Mushtaq Ahmed Rs100,000 each.

The Shalimar police station in-charge on March 14, 2016, Inspector Qaiser Niaz has been fined Rs300,000.

“The officials named above shall pay the costs through crossed cheques drawn in the name of the petitioner within ten days from the date of announcement of this judgment,” the court directed.

“It (enforced disappearance) creates anguish, insecurity and fear for the close relatives, exposing them to grave economic and social consequences, particularly if the abductee is the sole breadwinner. It has the effect of creating a sense of fear and insecurity in society and, therefore, depending on the facts and circumstances, it may also attract the provisions and offences defined under the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997,” Dawn report quotes the judgement.

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