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Friday, 15 March 2013

Pakistani Army true PHC orders army probe on ‘custodial killings'

Pakistani Army true

PHC orders army probe on ‘custodial killings'

The army chief has been asked by a Peshawar court to investigate custodial killings and enforced disappearances of Peshawar citizens. PHOTO: AFP/FILE
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has asked principal secretary (PS) to Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to constitute an inquiry board and probe the death of a previously missing person.
The man was allegedly in custody of security agencies when he died.
The court on Thursday directed the Judge Advocate General in-charge of General Headquarters Rawalpindi to initiate an inquiry under the Army Act.  The investigating officer should not be below the rank of a brigadier, the bench said, adding if anyone is found involved in the killing they will face court-martial.
The orders were issued by a PHC division bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Irshad Qaisar while hearing a petition filed by Haji Mir Rehman. Rehman has accused security agencies of killing his son Abdul Samad. Rehman said his son went missing on March 3, 2010 after security officials allegedly picked him up and shifted him to an undisclosed location. Later, his body was recovered.
An FIR registered at West Cantt police station, however, tells a different story. The report claims that Samad had been killed in retaliation after he snatched a gun from an officer and killed two personnel. But Rehman’s counsel Razaullah Khan said it was a fake encounter.
Additional Advocate General Naveed Akhatar informed the bench that Samad had also made a confessional statement before Judicial Magistrate Zafarullah Mohmand on December 4, adding he had been tried under the Army Act.
The bench observed that the Ministry of Defence had denied that Samad was in custody, but that is where he eventually died. “They (defence ministry) have already given a false statement. Take it seriously and keep in mind, the man was in custody of a security agency,” the bench said and directed the principal secretary to probe the alleged custodial killing.
The bench also issued show-cause notices against the provincial police and capital police chief and ordered them to reply as to why they had failed to submit the inquiry report on the alleged killing.
In another petition, the court directed Capital City Police Officer Imtiaz Altaf to constitute an inquiry team headed by a senior superintendent police and probe the killing of another previously missing person.  He was also allegedly in custody of security agencies.
The home department’s secretary was directed to write to the corps headquarters and question all suspects on the death of Hamida Bibi’s son. His body was recovered from district Charsadda. The orders were issued by the bench while hearing Bibi’s petition. She also accused the agencies for keeping her son in illegal custody.