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IHC Judge Chides ISI Over Disappearances

by AFP

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s written order observes that local police are working with intelligence agencies to disrupt ‘civic fiber’

An Islamabad High Court judge on Wednesday chided Pakistan’s 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 fiber of the country,” Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui 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 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.

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