ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday that the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances in Islamabad would extend cooperation to the Pakistani police regarding the investigation in a case of enforced disappearance.
UN Acting Resident Coordinator Neill Wright has also offered apology over his rude behaviour for keeping a senior police waiting for almost three hours.
Shahzad Waseem Bukhari, SP City Lahore, in the last hearing had informed the bench that on the Court order, he went to the Resident Coordinator to UN office, set up in an Islamabad hotel, related to the case of Mudasir Iqbal, who went missing three years ago. But the Coordinator kept him waiting despite the fact he had prior fixed the meeting times. The court taking notice of its had ordered additional attorney general to talk to concerned UN officials through ministry of foreign affairs.
During the proceeding a three-member bench, which heard missing persons' cases, observed that a public servant could not be obstructed in discharging their duties and if he would not be allowed to perform his duty then action might be taken against the concerned persons under CrPc 353.
Upon this, Additional Attorney General for Pakistan (AAGP) Tariq Khokhar responded that UN official could claim immunity. However, referring to the Raymond Davis case, the chief justice made it clear that there was no diplomatic immunity in this matter. He also asked the AAGP that if the UN department had given wrong information then he should be aware of it repercussion. It is to be noted that case of a missing person, Mudasir Iqbal, was registered by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED) on the initiative of a UN team. According to the UN team, several people had seen Mudasir Iqbal detained at secrete detention centre.
Ibrahim Satti, counsel for the Military Intelligence (MI), resuming his arguments objected how a police inspector could be allowed to proceed against army officers as no law existed in this regard. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-member bench, observed that now it is high time to probe why the allegations are being levelled against spy agencies. The bench heard the petition of a woman, Abida Malik, whose husband Tasif Ali went missing on November 23, 2011 from the Sadiqabad police precincts in Rawalpindi.
The MI counsel contended that no FIR could be registered against armed forces officials. Upon this, the chief justice said that cases had already been registered against armed forces officials in Quetta. Satti said though army officers were not above the law but they are dealt under Army Act 1952 therefore the protection, which has been provided in the Constitution, should be given to them. Expressing anger over Attorney General for Pakistan Muneer A Malik's stance, he said the AGP had taken a U-turn in this case without studying the law points.
It is worth mentioning that the AGP, appearing on court notice on July 12, stated that there is no provision in the Army Act, Criminal Procedure Court and Pakistan Penal Code that bars initiating legal proceedings against the serving army officers. He also said that there was no immunity to armed forces in matters related to the fundamental rights.
Justice Jawwad, member of the bench, told the learned counsel said that the AGP had not taken U-turn as the court had already decided this point of law. Upon this, Satti replied that he was getting too emotional in this case. When Satti argued in loud voice, the CJP asked him that this way he might satisfy his client but could not influence the court.
The learned counsel stated if the federal government would also support the stance of AGP then he would recommend to his client to hand over Army officer, involved in the disappearance of Tasif, to the police.
The case was adjourned till July 24.