Three of the ‘missing persons’ found dead in Haripur
ISLAMABAD: Three men allegedly arrested by security forces when they disappeared a year ago were found dead Thursday after authorities ordered that they be produced alive in court, police said.
The case spotlights the plight of the “missing” in Pakistan, where judges are seeking to bring the powerful military and intelligence agencies to book over mass arrests of alleged terror suspects, who are never seen again.
According to a preliminary autopsy report, the three men aged 30 to 35 were recently killed — first poisoned, then their necks were broken.
Their bodies were discovered in the district of Haripur.
“The dead bodies were recovered from three different places,” Mohammad Ali Gandapur, district police chief, told AFP.
He said police were investigating who killed them and why.
Relatives of one of the victims told police he was arrested by security forces and had been missing for 11 months, Gandapur said.
Footage broadcast by private TV channel showed the bodies being taken away by ambulance, accompanied by relatives and rescue workers.
A senior police official, speaking only on condition of anonymity, said the victims had been arrested by intelligence agencies.
An unnamed relative told the TV channel that the victims were three of 170 missing people ordered to be produced court by judges in the northwestern capital Peshawar.
Earlier this month, the high court in Peshawar ordered spy agencies, police and the provincial government to provide details on the status of 170 people.
Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand, provincial deputy attorney general, told AFP that the court is hearing cases from 170 petitioners who want their relatives back and accuse the intelligence agencies of holding them illegally.
The Supreme Court will next hear the case on July 11.
The apex court was also investigating the cases of missing people in the northwest and southwestern Balochistan province, where the military has been accused of rights violations in its bid to put down a separatist insurgency.
In February, seven men allegedly held by intelligence services appeared before the SC, more than a year and a half after being allegedly arrested in connection with terror attacks.
It was an unprecedented development that challenged perceptions that Pakistan’s feared Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operates above the law.