Missing man returns home quietly

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ISLAMABAD: A man who had been missing for over 19 months has quietly returned home under unexplained circumstances. Intelligence agencies had not acknowledged that Attique-ur-Rehman was in their custody and the Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday that he had reached his home. Nothing was said about the reason behind what a Joint Investigation Team as well as the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED) had declared to be a case of enforced disappearance, or about his physical and mental condition.

The news came two days after a statement by Defence Secretary Asif Yasin Malik before the court that the intelligence agencies had been warned of serious consequences and action.

Mr Rehman, an engineering student of the University of Lahore, had gone missing from Ferozwala, Sheikhupura, in July 2012.

On Tuesday, the Sheikhupura district police officer had told the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani that the whereabouts of the man were still not known and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) agencies had given a dissenting note about the findings of the JIT and the CIED.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar had requested the court to adjourn the matter till Wednesday when he would inform it about a positive outcome of the case.

On Wednesday, Standing Counsel Talat Abbas told the court that the missing man had reached home.

Mr Khokhar told reporters that the defence ministry had divulged in writing that Mr Rehman was at his home. At this, the attorney general’s office asked Sheikhupura DPO to depute a responsible officer to meet the family and identify him.

A deputy superintendent of police reported that he had met Mr Rehman at his home and this was also confirmed by his father Mian Mushtaq.

The additional attorney general said the victim had met his friend Abdul Wahid near the Ferozwala police station after receiving a phone call from him. They had bought snacks from a nearby shop.

Later, they were picked up by policemen, plainclothesmen and commandos.

Three of 10 eyewitnesses of the incident claimed while giving statements to police that the policemen as well as the commandos who came to pick up the two men in several vehicles were in uniform.

Abdul Wahid was released four months later and he said in his statement that he and Rehman had been arrested but kept separately during the captivity.

The JIT comprising representatives of the intelligence and security agencies formed to probe into the whereabouts of Rehman held that the matter was related to enforced disappearance albeit with dissenting notes by the ISI and MI.

The CIED ruled in its findings on Dec 13 last year that prima facie the case pertained to enforced disappearance and the intelligence agencies should be asked for the recovery and whereabouts of the missing person.

Details of the case were placed before the defence ministry and the intelligence agencies and they were asked to re-investigate the matter in the light of the overwhelming evidence, Mr Khokhar said, adding that consequently Mr Rehman was released on Tuesday.