PAKISTAN: The High Court is unable to recover a man from illegal military detention after 15 months


ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention; disappearances; military

Dear friends,

Mr. Jalil Ahmed Reki Baloch

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that a man is still missing fifteen months after his arrest by plain clothed intelligence agents, and despite admissions by officials that he is in custody. Although the Supreme Court has made strong efforts to address the issue of disappearances in Pakistan it remains unable to hold military staff, such as those from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency answerable for illegal arrests and detentions. The father of the missing man was only able to file a police report a year after his son’s disappearance.

CASE DETAILS:

According to reports from the victim’s father and a variety of NGOs working to recover missing persons, Mr. Jalil Ahmed Reki Baloch, 35 (details below), was abducted by persons in plain clothes on 13 February 2009 during the day. Eye witnesses report that 12 to 15 people emerged from a group of vehicles and pulled Jailil Reki into a pickup truck while he was walking home from Friday prayers, near a girls’ school at Chowk Kechi on Saryab Road in Quetta. The vehicles included two jeeps and two pickups with tinted windows and no registration plates.

The following day police did not allow Jalil’s father Mr. Abdul Qadeer Reki Baloch to file a First Information Report (FIR) at the nearby Shalkot police station in Saryab. The complaint was only recorded in the Roznamcha (the daily diary). Mr. Qadeer instead had to file a habeas corpus petition at the Balochistan High Court in Quetta (16 February, 2009, Constitutional Petition No.CP76/2009).

On 22 February we are told that an independent delegation met with the Chief Minister of Balochistan province, Mr. Nawab Aslam Raisani. The group, which included the chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua, the president of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Mr. Nasrullah Bangulzai Baloch and human rights activist Mr. Muhammad Zafar, was told that Jalil was in the custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The chief minister said that some weeks earlier the head of the ISI’s Quetta division had asked him to support the filing of an FIR against Jalil Reki and another man, Dr. Bashir Azeem for burning Pakistan’s flag and chanting anti-government slogans. The minister said that since he refused the ISI took the men into its custody. Dr. Bashir Azeem is also missing.

The team submitted their statements on the meeting as affidavits to the Supreme Court and the Balochistan High Court in Quetta, to the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Ms. Asma Jehangir and to the members of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that was set up by the provincial government to look into missing persons. The team consists of members of the ISI, Military Intelligence (MI), the Federal Investigation Unit (FIU) and Central Investigation Agency (CIA) in Balochistan province, along with the Inspector General of Police (IG) in Balochistan and the District Police Officer (DPO) of Quetta district. The affidavits can be read here: affidavit-1, affidavit-2, and affidavit-3.

During its regular hearing of missing persons cases in January 2010 the Supreme Court made a sweeping order for all police stations to file FIRs as requested in such cases, as is legally mandated. After a few more attempts, Jalil’s father successfully lodged an FIR on 14 February 2010, exactly a year after his son’s abduction. The High Court of Balochistan had not acted on the constitutional petition from until the FIR was submitted in court. However subsequently during the hearing in April, the High Court judge ordered the attorney general of the province to submit his comments on whether the ISI and FC provincial chiefs should appear in court. The next hearing is fixed for June 2010.

The FIR holds two persons responsible for Jalil’s abduction: Major General Saleem Nawaz, Director General of the Frontier Corp (FC) in Balochistan and Brigadier Saad Khattak, the then-head of the ISI in the province.

The director of operations at the Federal Ministry of Interior also wrote to the National Crisis Management Cell in Islamabad, on 22 March 2010 calling for the inclusion of Jalil’s name in official list of missing persons, as seen here.

Persons who have been abducted by the ISI have reported severe torture and various other human rights violations during periods of incommunicado detention, often while being forced to confess to anti-state activities. There are strong concerns that the life and safety of Jalil and Dr. Bashir are at risk; they are certainly not being held according to standards set by Pakistan’s criminal procedural code or constitution, and are being denied the right to a fair trial as due them under international law.

In a recently similar case, AHRC-UAC-036-2010 Mr. Murad Khan Marri disappeared for nine months after his arrest and abduction by plain clothed intelligence agents; he has been charged with crimes related to anti state activities and appears to have been extremely badly treated.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the officials listed below to show your concerns regarding the abduction of Mr. Jalil Ahmed Reki Baloch and questioning the will and ability of the provincial government to govern the actions of Pakistan’s military agencies. Please call for the safe and immediate recovery of the victim.

The AHRC has written to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture and the Working Groups on Arbitrary Detention and on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances calling for their intervention into this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

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