Pakistani Justice urges agencies to address Kashmir poet’s abduction allegations

| Updated: 21 May, 2024 1:05 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a recent hearing at the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Pakistani Justice Kayani presided over a case concerning the disappearance of Kashmiri poet Ahmed Farhad Shah, who was reportedly taken from his residence. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has urged for Shah’s prompt release.

Shah’s spouse petitioned the IHC, pleading for Shah’s recovery and the prosecution of those behind his disappearance. During the initial hearing, Justice Kayani mandated SSP Jameel Zafar to ensure Shah’s return, warning to call upon the defence secretary if necessary.

Representing Shah’s wife, advocates Imaan Zainab Mazari and Hadi Ali Chatha attended the court on Monday. Mazari disclosed that Shah had been missing for a week and mentioned a WhatsApp call from Shah’s number, which suggested withdrawing the petition. However, Mazari affirmed their decision to proceed with the application, the Dawn reported.

“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.

Justice Kayani inquired about Shah’s background, whether the abductee had affiliations with terrorism or was connected to kidnapping for ransom., directing SSP Zafar to bring Shah to court. He emphasised the need for accountability within institutions, specifically mentioning the ISI and its DG, Nadeem Anjum.

AAG Barrister Munawar Iqbal Duggal defended the institution, stating that a briefing had been provided to the defence secretary. Justice Kayani highlighted the necessity for altering public perception of governmental bodies and acknowledged the unique suffering of abductees.

The Ministry of Defence sought a two-day extension to locate Shah, but Justice Kayani demanded a quicker response. He underscored the role of the police as the state’s face and instructed the recording of statements from ISI officials under the CrPC.

Justice Kayani condemned the misuse of authority by institutions and empathised with the plight of those affected by abductions. AAG Duggal’s request for an additional day was met with the judge’s insistence on a written reply and accountability from the defence secretary.

The judge criticised filing an FIR as insufficient and warned of the case’s broader implications. He called for an end to arbitrary abductions and summoned the defence and interior secretaries to court.

Justice Kayani declared that the nation must operate according to the law, not agency whims, and prohibited any contact with Shah’s wife during the proceedings.

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