Pakistan SC forces authorities to produce 14 `missing persons`

After repeated warnings from Supreme Court, Pakistani authorities produced 14 men who had been detained without charge by security agencies and six of them were identified by their families.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 07, 2013, 22:45 PM IST

Islamabad: After repeated warnings from the Supreme Court, Pakistani authorities on Saturday produced 14 men who had been detained without charge by security agencies and six of them were identified by their families.
The men were produced before Justice Amir Hani Muslim, a member of the three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry that is hearing the case of "missing persons".

The "missing persons", their faces covered, were brought to the apex court in two vehicles. Attorney General Munir Malik was also present in court at the time.

The two vehicles were allowed to go inside the Supreme Court. Cars are usually stopped at the outer gate of the court complex.

The Defence Secretary asked media not to film the men or release their names. Security personnel stopped members of the media from filming the men.

An in-camera hearing was held in the chambers of Justice Muslim, who summoned Ataullah, the head of an internment centre in the northwestern town of Malakand, with all records pertaining to detentions.

Relatives were also summoned to identify the "missing persons". At least six of the men were identified by their relatives, reports said.

Yesterday, the apex court had ordered authorities to present the "missing persons" before Justice Muslim for an in-camera session. The court had said the Attorney General could question the "missing persons" during this session.

During an earlier hearing, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif submitted a list of 35 "missing persons" from Balochistan and details of their locations.

Asif said seven of them had been released, three were living in Waziristan tribal region, one had moved to Saudi Arabia and eight more had reportedly moved to Kunar province of Afghanistan.

He said details of five men were not available while information about seven men was "very sensitive". Asif further said none of the "missing persons" were in the military’s custody.

The Supreme Court has been pressuring the government to produce the detainees. It has warned it would be forced to summon senior officials if they were not produced.

The apex court has also issued a contempt of court notice to the chief of the paramilitary Frontier Corps for not appearing before it despite several summons. He claimed he could not appear as he was hospitalised for a heart ailment.