SC questions UN staffer’s refusal to give info
ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned under what legal provision an employee of the United Nations organisation office in Islamabad could refuse to answer the queries by a Pakistani policeman in missing persons case.
Jawwad S Khawaja heading a two-member bench which heard missing persons cases stated that the case of enforced disappeared person, Mudasir Iqbal, was registered by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED) on the initiative of the UNO team, therefore, how one of its employees could now refuse to provide information to a policeman, investigating the case.
Shahzad Waseem Bukhari, SP Lahore Cantt, informed the court that as per the direction of the court he went to the UNO Mission in Islamabad, to inquire about Mudasir Iqbal, who went missing from Lahore three years ago. But its employee Zaman informed him that he can’t assume any responsibility, therefore, the police should enter into some correspondence through Foreign Affairs as the Mission had come from Geneva and had returned to Geneva.
The court inquired from Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokar, “Under what authority this office (UNO) is functioning in Pakistan and whether there are any legal provision that the employee of the UNO could refuse to answer the questions asked by an SP rank police officer.” The AAG sought some time to respond to the query.
The bench said: “The UNO had maligned our government because the statement of UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, (during its visit to Pakistan), said that Mudasir Iqbal was seen in a secret detention centre by several people. It is also stated that the family of Mudasir Iqbal was ‘reportedly informed by other people that they have seen Mudasir in the secret detention centre.”
The court also heard the cases of three other missing persons. The Punjab police about Nasrullah Tariq, a missing person, informed that he took training and exam at the Jammat-ud-Dawa Centre in Muridke. The police officer told that they have recorded the statements of Nasrullah’s brother and friends. All of them said that he might have gone to Kashmir for jihad, added the police officer. He further said that people at Jammat-ud-Dawa say that in vacations many people on their own go for jihad. The court, however, directed the police to continue the investigation and submit challan in the competent court. About Zaheer Mughees, the SP Potohar Town Rawalpindi informed the court that he met with the person in Palandari. Justice Jawwad asked him to submit the report on it on the next hearing (16-07-2013).
The additional advocate general informed the court about the meeting of Fasihullah and Imdad Hussain with their relative.
The hearing was adjourned till Thursday.