• Sunday, Jul 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 03:06 am

Pakistan judge chides intelligence agency over disappearances

  • Published at 10:41 pm July 18th, 2018
  • Last updated at 11:07 pm July 18th, 2018
pakistan-disappearence-1531931698704.jpg
Pakistani children of missing persons hold placards as they arrive in front of the presidency hoping for a meeting with President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, 01 January 2007 AFP

In recent years, a growing number of abductions have taken place brazenly in major cities such as Karachi, Lahore and even the capital Islamabad

A Pakistani High Court judge on Wednesday chided the country's powerful intelligence agency and police over alleged abductions, in a rare public statement accusing security forces of law-breaking.

Pakistan has a long history of enforced disappearances, with the security establishment frequently accused of overseeing them to quell criticism from activists and media workers.

"I am constrained to observe that local police is in league with the mighty agencies who have disrupted the civic fibre of the country," Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court said in a written order concerning a petition about missing persons.

Siddiqui was commenting on a case involving a man who was allegedly abducted by security officials. He later recanted and denied the incident.

"From the mannerism, body language and complexion, he looks under immense fear and a lot of pressure of dire consequence, therefore his statement does not inspire confidence," the judge added.

The judge went on to publicly call out the country's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, saying the group was "involved in corrupt practices including providing aid in the commission of offences and receiving their share from crime money".

Siddiqui urged the military's top brass to rein in the intelligences service to protect both its reputation and that of the country at large.

In recent years, a growing number of abductions have taken place brazenly in major cities such as Karachi, Lahore and even the capital Islamabad.

They have increasingly targeted activists and journalists critical of the state and the military's policies.

The military routinely denies being involved.

However major Pakistani media outlets have increasingly complained of censorship, kidnappings and intimidation during the run-up to nationwide polls on July 25.