Investigation into kidnap, extortion cases: IGP told to liaise with cellphone companies for data
KARACHI, Aug 10: The Sindh High Court on Friday directed the provincial police chief to depute a ‘focal person’ of the rank of deputy inspector-general (DIG) in each division to obtain any information, call data and other details from cellular companies for the purpose of investigation in kidnapping for ransom and extortion cases.
Hearing the petition of Naimat Gul against the detention of his son Naseebullah by the law-enforcement agencies in October 2009 in the Clifton area, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam expressed grave concern over the rise in incidents of kidnapping for ransom and extortion, particularly in Karachi.
The bench also expressed displeasure over the non-compliance of the court’s order for convening a meeting of the interior secretary, defence secretary, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, chief of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, home secretary and IGP to frame standard operational procedure to obtain required call data from the cellular companies for the law-enforcement agencies for the purpose of detection of ransom and extortion cases.
The SHC had on Dec 21, 2011 and then on April 10, 2012 issued directives to the federal authorities to revisit the SOP of Oct 27, 2008 that required the law-enforcement agencies, including police, to share the call information data through the Inter-Services Intelligence only.
The court observed that incidents of crime increased rapidly due to the unregulated sharing of call data and the restriction imposed by an agency.
The federal law officer informed the court that a meeting was scheduled on June 8, 2012, but he was not aware of the outcome.
The court observed: “More than reasonable time was given to the authorities concerned to perform and discharge the duty as cast upon them under law. Under Article 9 of the constitution, right to life is guaranteed and such right is being seriously jeopardised on account of inaction on the part of ministry of interior and other relevant ministries and authorities. They are oblivious of the suffering of the people of Karachi in particular and rest of the province in general at the hands of criminals who are using modern communication devices to perpetuate and carry out the crimes and most of them are untraced and untracked”.
The bench went on to observe that people were being deprived not only of their lives but also of their valuable lifetime savings in this uncontrolled situation.
The court directed the IGP to notify the representative list of nominated DIG of respective region to cellular companies to avoid misrepresentation or unauthorised access to the information.
The court also warned that if any cellular company avoided or failed to share information for the purpose of investigations it would expose itself to the consequences of insubordination and violation of the directives of this court.
“In case the SOP as directed is nor finalized by the next date, the court may held the Secretary of Interior Ministry liable for contempt of court,” the bench further warned.
Meanwhile, the provincial law officer informed the court that alleged detainee had returned.
The court directed the production of the recovered missing man in court on Aug 30.