Kashmiri poet case: IHC’s Justice Kayani calls on intelligence agencies to shed label of culpability in abductions

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Islamabad High Court (IHC) senior puisne judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Monday said that the intelligence agencies should shed the perception of their involvement in forced abductions.

The IHC judge was hearing a petition seeking the recovery of Kashmiri poet Ahmed Farhad Shah.

Shah was allegedly abducted from his home last week. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had called on the authorities for his immediate release.

A petition was filed by Shah’s wife in the IHC last Wednesday, requesting that he be found and produced before the court and to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for his disappearance.

Justice Kayani had conducted the first hearing on the matter and ordered Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jameel Zafar to retrieve Shah at any cost, warning that he would otherwise summon the defence secretary. The judge had issued a notice to the defence secretary in the next hearing.

Today’s hearing

Advocates Imaan Zainab Mazari and Hadi Ali Chatha were present in court today to represent Shah’s wife.

Mazari said that Shah had been missing since last week.

She said that they had received a WhatsApp call from Shah’s number on May 17 asking them to withdraw their request.

“Three drafts were shared between us and these people […] They told us to tell you that he had gone to the court himself,” Mazari said.

“Ahmed Farhad did not come back so we are not withdrawing the application,” she added.

Justice Kayani questioned whether the abductee was a terrorist or involved in kidnapping for ransom.

He directed SSP Zafar to produce Shah in court.

“Everyone has to bear the punishment for what the institutions are doing. I want the man (Shah) from the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). You should inform the DG (director general) ISI [Nadeem Anjum] that the man should be produced at any cost. Remove the label from yourself that you abduct [people],” he said.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Barrister Munawar Iqbal Duggal said the entire institution could not be held responsible, adding that he had given a complete briefing to the defence secretary.

Justice Kayani said that the federal government needed to change people’s perception concerning institutions, adding that only the abducted would truly knew what they went through.

“Don’t take [issues] to the point where it becomes impossible for institutions to survive,” Justice Kayani said.

An official from the Ministry of Defence requested for two days to recover the poet.

Justice Kayani asked the official to contact the higher authorities and submit a reply to the courts by 3pm, otherwise, warning that he would otherwise issue the order.

“The face of the state is not unidentified persons, it is the police,” Justice Kayani said.

Resuming the hearing, the judge told the investigating police officer to record statements from the ISI sector commander for Islamabad and DG ISI under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

“The sector commander is not living on the moon, what is his status?”

Justice Kayani said that what the institutions were doing was an abuse of authority.

“Have you ever been abducted? Beware of the time when everyone is abducted,” Justice Kayani said.

He asked the defence ministry official whether any of his relatives were ever abducted to which he said no, to which the judge said: “That’s why you don’t understand. Ask the feelings of those whose [relatives] are abducted.”

After the hearing resumed, AAG Duggal requested the courts to give an extension till tomorrow to produce the abductee. “ISI has said that they do not have him,” Duggal said.

At this, the judge said: “You submit the response in writing. I will call the defence minister,” Justice Kayani replied, adding that the defence secretary and his officers were answerable to the court.

“We have submitted an FIR,” Duggal said to which Justice Kayani responded: “Have you done us a favour by filing an FIR?”

Justice Kayani said the matter would go beyond the abduction case once he gave the order.

“This is not a simple matter that you abduct anyone whenever you want,” he said, adding that this practice should be stopped.

“They send messages on one hand and now they are saying we don’t have him,” he added.

The court summoned the secretary of defence and the secretary of interior tomorrow at 3pm.

“The country will either be run as per the law or the way of agencies,” Justice Kayani said.

“Do not contact the abductee’s wife in between,” the judge told the AAG.__dawn.com.pk