Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali, a retired three-star army general, finally appeared in the Sindh High Court on Monday to swear his personal affidavit to the effect that Abdul Ghaffar Langho, a missing leader of the Balochistan National Party, was not in the custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or the Military Intelligence, the two intelligence agencies under the administrative control of the defence ministry. A division bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed had earlier on Nov 8 issued a bailable warrant for the arrest of the defence secretary for ignoring the repeated orders of the court in a petition seeking whereabouts of the missing BNP leader. The defence secretary filed his personal affidavit stating that the matter of the missing person was inquired from the two intelligence agencies which denied having him arrested or detained in their respective custody. He also submitted that he could not comply with the court�s earlier orders as they were not brought to his knowledge in time. He stated that he received the court�s orders of Oct 13 and Nov 8 on Nov 11 through fax by the deputy attorney general. He prayed to the court to condone the non-compliance of the court orders and to dispense with his personal attendance. The defence secretary stated in court that all-out efforts had been made by the federal government to trace the missing persons, including Abdul Ghaffar Langho. He submitted that a judicial commission had been constituted for determining the cases of the missing person and perhaps the case of the Baloch leader was also proceeding before it. Advocate Akhtar Hussain, appearing for the petitioner, stated that he would inquire from the commission regarding the referral of Mr Langho�s case and if that was so, he would pursue it before the commission. He, however, said that no affidavits had been filed by the relevant officials from the ISI and the MI and the provincial police chief. Deputy Attorney General Mian Khan Malik stated that the affidavits of the relevant officials of the ISI and the MI would be filed accordingly. The same was stated by Additional Advocate General Shafi Mohammed Memon for the provincial police chief�s affidavit. The court ordered the federal and provincial law officers to file the affidavits of the relevant officials within two weeks and adjourned the hearing to Dec 24. The court also ordered that the personal attendance of the defence secretary was dispensed with. Petitioner Niaz Muhammed Langho impleaded the interior secretary, the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence, the DG of the Military Intelligence, the Sindh home secretary, the provincial police officer and the station house officer of the Garden police station as respondents in the disappearance case of his brother. The petitioner submitted that his brother, a permanent resident of Balochistan, had come to Karachi on Dec 9, 2009 in connection with medical treatment of his wife, Zarina, who was admitted to the Institute of Surgery and Medicine on Garden Road. He alleged that his brother was picked up by personnel of an intelligence agency on Dec 12, 2009 at around 3pm when he came out of the hospital to buy medicines for his wife. The petitioner stated that the ailing woman also came out of the hospital when her husband did not return. He said that Zarina was told by a vendor outside the hospital that her husband had been taken away by occupants of two Vego wagons who appeared to be personnel of some government agency. The petitioner said that he approached the area police station to lodge a complaint regarding the kidnap of his brother, but he was refused. He said the police asked him to approach higher federal and provincial authorities to ascertain his brother�s whereabouts. Contempt notice to FBR chairman The Sindh High Court on Monday issued a contempt of court notice to the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue, Sohail Ahmed, the FBR secretary (management) and the additional director of Internal Audit, Karachi, Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ashraf Malik. A division bench comprising Justices Shahid Anver Bajwah and Tufial H. Ebrahim fixed Dec 6 for the hearing of the contempt of court application filed by the director of Internal Audit, Mushtaque Hussain Qazi. The applicant stated that the he was being transferred from the Directorate of Internal Audit to the Directorate of Withholding Taxes against the court orders. The court while hearing Mr Qazi�s petition against an inquiry against him by the FBR had ordered the FBR to maintain status quo regarding the posting of the petitioner.
By: Dawn News