IHC summons law minister, ISI, MI, IB officials in poet abduction case

  • Justice Mohsin Kayani orders live broadcast of all cases involving missing persons
  • Permits reporting of court proceedings, underscoring significance of the case

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered live broadcast of all cases involving missing persons and summoned several high-ranking officials to appear in person on May 29 in the case of missing poet Ahmed Farhad Shah.

During the hearing, journalists informed the court about the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) notification. The court permitted the reporting of the proceedings, underscoring the significance of the case.

Shah, a journalist and poet, went missing from his home in Islamabad on May 14.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued an eight-page written order in Urdu, demanding the appearance of the Federal Minister for Law, the Sector Commander of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Military Intelligence (MI) Director, the Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the secretaries of defence and interior.

The court’s directive stated that if the abducted individual is recovered before the next hearing, a written report must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. This marks the first time the Islamabad High Court has issued a written order in Urdu, authored by Justice Kayani.

On Tuesday, the IHC ordered the recovery of missing poet by May 24, accepting the attorney general for Pakistan’s (AGP) request for additional time for this purpose.

At the outset of the hearing, the AGP requested an extension of two to four days for Shah’s recovery, assuring the court that the law enforcement agencies would be able to locate him within the timeframe.

The court granted the requested extension, with Justice Kayani questioning whether or not the AGP had given the assurance after consultation with the federal government.

The AGP replied that he had the federal government’s complete backing.

The petitioner’s lawyer Imaan Mazari expressed frustration over the recurring instances of individuals being “forcibly” disappeared.

“It always happens, they pick up people and then say that we don’t have them,” she added.

She continued that it was not just one case and emphasised that she represented such matters every day.

Mazari then pressed the AGP on progress made in the past six days in Shah’s case, suggesting that if the agencies were not involved, the kidnappers should “at least be traceable”.

Commenting on the absence of the defence secretary, she contended that he had never appeared in court whenever he was summoned. Justice Kayani stressed the need to finish this culture.

“If a prime minister can appear before the court, everyone else can do so as well,” he added, noting that nobody was higher in rank than the premier.

The AGP assured the court that all resources would be used to track down the missing poet.

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