*ISLAMABAD: *For the first in Pakistan’s history, a high court has penalised a retired three-star general and several civilian officials in the case of a missing person and directed them to pay one-time fine while ordering the state to pay monthly compensation to missing man’s heirs.
In a landmark judgement which sets a new precedent in missing persons’ cases, the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday held that “enforced disappearance is one of the most cruel and inhuman acts and categorised as a crime against humanity.”
The IHC’s milestone judgement came in the case of a missing IT professional, Sajid Mehmood, who was abducted from his house in Islamabad’s F-10 Sector in front of his family and neighbours in 2016.
His wife, Mahera Sajid, through her counsel, Umer Gilani, had filed a writ of habeas corpus in the IHC and the court had repeatedly directed the police and intelligence agencies to produce Mehmood in the court but the person is still missing.
Beside safe recovery of her husband, Mahera had demanded that the government should be held liable for gross negligence in discharging its duty to protect the liberty of her husband and be made to pay her and her daughters a monthly maintenance.
In view of the facts, Justice Minallah imposed cost of Rs100,000 each on Ministry of Defence Secretary Lt General (retd) Zamirul Hassan Shah, Islamabad’s Chief Commissioner Zulfiqar Haider, Inspector General of Police Khalid Khan Khattak and District Magistrate Capt (retd) Mushtaq Ahmed.
“A cost of Rs300,000 … is imposed on Mr Qaiser Niaz, Inspector who was the Incharge of Police Station, Shalimar on 14-03-2016,” he added. The officials shall pay the costs through crossed cheques drawn in the name of the petitioner within ten days from the date of announcement of the judgement.
Justice Minallah stated that the state and its functionaries have failed in safeguarding the fundamental right of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution.