ISLAMABAD: While hearing a petition regarding the alleged abduction of a Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) official, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday directed Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar to prepare and place before the premier a report on the “poor standard” of the capital police’s investigation process in two weeks.
The directive was given during the hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed September 5, a day after SECP Joint Director Sajid Gondal was allegedly picked up from Islamabad. The petitioner, Gondal’s mother, had expressed apprehensions that her son may be “put to mental and physical torture as his whereabouts are unknown and his life is also in danger”.
Gondal, however, returned safely on September 8.
During Monday’s hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who had expressed concern about the purportedly enforced disappearances in the capital, also directed Akbar to submit a detailed report on the matter within three weeks.
Akbar, along with Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, capital police chief Aamir Zulfiqar Khan and Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, appeared before Justice Minallah.
The judge told Akbar that despite a court ruling, there was no prosecution branch in Islamabad. The judge said that the capital should have been a “model city”, adding that the “standard of the police investigation is extremely poor”.
“Go to a katcheri and see how courts are operating, no one has paid any attention towards it,” Justice Minallah told Akbar.
“The court verdicts are based upon police investigation. The standard of the police investigation is extremely poor, investigation officials have not been trained,” the judge added. He further said that many suspects are acquitted due to poor investigation by the police and the courts were deemed responsible.
The judge said that Akbar was among the five people who had been appointed by the prime minister as advisers and who had his trust.
“Tell the prime minister that the rights of a layman are being trampled upon,” Justice Minallah said.
Akbar said that the matter of missing persons had been brought to the cabinet’s notice and a sub-committee has been formed. The recommendations will be sent to the cabinet, he added.
“This is an ongoing issue,” Akbar told the court, agreeing that there should be an independent prosecution branch in the capital.
The petitioner’s counsel Barrister Jahangir Jadoon told the court that Gondal has returned and also recorded a statement before the magistrate. He added that authorities have yet to ascertain who was behind Gondal’s disappearance.
The judge said that the court could not comment on who was responsible for Gondal’s disappearance as the matter was being investigated by authorities.
“This is a matter under investigation, the law will take its own course,” Justice Minallah remarked.
The hearing was adjourned until October 19.