LAHORE: Families of the missing persons on Sunday attended the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’s (PTM) Lahore rally and demanded to know the fate of their loved ones.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Mohammad Bilal Butt claimed that his brother-in-law, Syed Akbar, was arrested in a raid conducted by SP Omer Virk last year. For next few months, the family didn’t know his whereabouts. “Later, we were informed that Akbar was kept in Kot Lakhpat Jail on the charges of terrorism and he was also tried in an anti-terrorism court,” he added.
He further said that his brother was acquitted of all the charges; however, just minutes after he was released from the prison, security officials detained him and he has been missing ever since. “Police have refused to help us,” he lamented, saying that they have written an application to the Lahore police chief and Corps Commander Lahore but it remained an exercise in futility.
The applications written by Akbar’s family to the Lahore CCPO and Lahore corps commander stated that “Akbar was initially picked up by security officials on May 14, 2017, at around 1:00 am from his house. The family wasn’t informed about his [Akbar] whereabouts. After five or six months of his abduction, on October 27, 2017, the family was told that a case had been registered against Akbar in an anti-terrorism court (ATC) and he had been in Kot Lakhpat jail. The trial was conducted for three to four months, and eventually, the court acquitted Akbar”.
The applications further said that “Akbar was released from the prison on February 22, 2018, and as soon as he was released four to five people from law enforcement agencies assaulted them and then abducted Akbar, and Mohammad Wazir—who was acquitted by the ATC in the same case”.
The applicant requested the officials to produce his brother so as to ensure the provision of justice.
Zahid Zaman, a brother of another missing person Wali Zaman, told Pakistan Today that both Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances and police are helpless to recover his brother.
“My brother went missing near Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in 2009. I had contacted Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in 2010,” he said, adding, despite meeting the commission’s chief for numerous times over the past eight years, his brother remained missing.
Family of a 16-year-old disappeared youth, Muhammad Usman, who has been missing for the past six months, echoed the same sentiments. Police and courts have failed to help us, he said and claimed that the police categorically told him that they, or even courts for that matter, could not do anything if military agencies were involved in the detention.
“I don’t even know if my grandson is alive or dead,” he lamented.
“Are the ones who pick people up transcend law and state,” his grandfather questioned while talking to Pakistan Today. He said that all they are demanding is that missing persons be produced and tried in the courts if they have committed any crime.
Members of the PTM, who were keeping the record of the missing persons, told Pakistan Today that most of the ‘missing’ people were picked up during police raids. Many people from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) had also been picked up by pro-government peace committees.