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PAKISTAN: The High Court is unable to recover a man
from illegal military detention after 15 months
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention; disappearances;
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that
a man is still missing fifteen months after his arrest
by plain clothed intelligence agents, and despite admissions
by officials that he is in custody. Although the Supreme
Court has made strong efforts to address the issue of disappearances
in Pakistan it remains unable to hold military staff, such
as those from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency
answerable for illegal arrests and detentions. The father
of the missing man was only able to file a police report
a year after his son's disappearance.
According to reports from the victim’s father and
a variety of NGOs working to recover missing persons, Mr.
Jalil Ahmed Reki Baloch, 35 (details below), was abducted
by persons in plain clothes on 13 February 2009 during
the day. Eye witnesses report that 12 to 15 people emerged
from a group of vehicles and pulled Jailil Reki into a
pickup truck while he was walking home from Friday prayers,
near a girls' school at Chowk Kechi on Saryab Road in Quetta.
The vehicles included two jeeps and two pickups with tinted
windows and no registration plates.
The following day police did not allow Jalil's father Mr.
Abdul Qadeer Reki Baloch to file a First Information Report
(FIR) at the nearby Shalkot police station in Saryab. The
complaint was only recorded in the Roznamcha (the daily
diary). Mr. Qadeer instead had to file a habeas corpus
petition at the Balochistan High Court in Quetta (16 February,
2009, Constitutional Petition No.CP76/2009).
On 22 February we are told that an independent delegation
met with the Chief Minister of Balochistan province, Mr.
Nawab Aslam Raisani. The group, which included the chairperson
of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua,
the president of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Mr. Nasrullah
Bangulzai Baloch and human rights activist Mr. Muhammad
Zafar, was told that Jalil was in the custody of the Inter-Services
Intelligence Agency (ISI). The chief minister said that
some weeks earlier the head of the ISI's Quetta division
had asked him to support the filing of an FIR against Jalil
Reki and another man, Dr. Bashir Azeem for burning Pakistan's
flag and chanting anti-government slogans. The minister
said that since he refused the ISI took the men into its
custody. Dr. Bashir Azeem is also missing.
The team submitted their statements on the meeting as affidavits
to the Supreme Court and the Balochistan High Court in
Quetta, to the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission
of Pakistan (HRCP) Ms. Asma Jehangir and to the members
of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that was set up by
the provincial government to look into missing persons.
The team consists of members of the ISI, Military Intelligence
(MI), the Federal Investigation Unit (FIU) and Central
Investigation Agency (CIA) in Balochistan province, along
with the Inspector General of Police (IG) in Balochistan
and the District Police Officer (DPO) of Quetta district.
The affidavits can be read here: affidavit-1, affidavit-2,
During its regular hearing of missing persons cases in
January 2010 the Supreme Court made a sweeping order for
all police stations to file FIRs as requested in such cases,
as is legally mandated. After a few more attempts, Jalil's
father successfully lodged an FIR on 14 February 2010,
exactly a year after his son’s abduction. The High
Court of Balochistan had not acted on the constitutional
petition from until the FIR was submitted in court. However
subsequently during the hearing in April, the High Court
judge ordered the attorney general of the province to submit
his comments on whether the ISI and FC provincial chiefs
should appear in court. The next hearing is fixed for June
The FIR holds two persons responsible for Jalil's abduction:
Major General Saleem Nawaz, Director General of the Frontier
Corp (FC) in Balochistan and Brigadier Saad Khattak, the
then-head of the ISI in the province.
The director of operations at the Federal Ministry of Interior
also wrote to the National Crisis Management Cell in Islamabad,
on 22 March 2010 calling for the inclusion of Jalil's name
in official list of missing persons, as seen here.
Persons who have been abducted by the ISI have reported
severe torture and various other human rights violations
during periods of incommunicado detention, often while
being forced to confess to anti-state activities. There
are strong concerns that the life and safety of Jalil and
Dr. Bashir are at risk; they are certainly not being held
according to standards set by Pakistan's criminal procedural
code or constitution, and are being denied the right to
a fair trial as due them under international law.
In a recently similar case, AHRC-UAC-036-2010 Mr. Murad
Khan Marri disappeared for nine months after his arrest
and abduction by plain clothed intelligence agents; he
has been charged with crimes related to anti state activities
and appears to have been extremely badly treated.
The AHRC has written to the UN Special Rapporteur on the
Question of Torture and the Working Groups on Arbitrary
Detention and on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances
calling for their intervention into this case.