Missing persons’ families don’t hold out much hope
PESHAWAR, Aug 18: Faint hopes of the families of many missing persons are getting fainter as the man suspected of being behind forced disappearances of their members is no more.
These distraught families firmly believe that station house officer Ajmir Shah, who died in a suicide bombing last year, could help trace their missing members.
“I don’t know where to go now. Two years have passed since my son, Sherbaz, was taken away by Ajmir Shah.
We don’t know if he is alive or was killed in custody,” said Zaribaz, of Akora Khattak area in Nowshera district.
During a recent visit to the Peshawar High Court, this old man accompanied by his wife said his case was disposed of by the high court after all law-enforcement and intelligence agencies expressed ignorance about his son’s forced disappearance. He said his wife had filed a separate application with the high court’s chief justice seeking orders for fresh inquiry into the case.
On Oct 4, 2011, a high court bench had ordered registration of FIR against SHO Ajmir in the case after parents of Sherbaz charged him in the court with picking up their son.
After the registration of FIR, Ajmir, who was by then transferred to Risalpur police station, was later killed in a suicide blast on Oct 29 near Risalpur.
The then chief justice of the high court had taken suo motu notice of Sherbaz’s disappearance after the couple had sent him an application, which was converted into a habeas corpus petition.
The couple alleged that two people, including Tawas Khan and Kamal, were also taken away by the SHO but they were freed after they bribed him.
Mother of the missing person, Irshad Begum, claimed that one of her daughters died of trauma, while another had become physiologically ill due to the grief of losing their brother.
Interestingly, on several occasions the said SHO was seen insisting outside the courtroom that he had killed the man and how he could bring him back to life.
Ajmir gained notoriety in his anti-militancy operations when he was deputed as SHO of Akora Khattak police station. He was notorious for being an ‘encounter specialist’ and was popular for countering activities of militants in his area.
Later in 2010 and 2011 complaints began pouring in against him of keeping persons in illegal detentions and freeing them after receiving ransom.
A few days before his death, the Peshawar High Court had ordered the anti-corruption establishment (ACE) to conduct inquiry regarding his assets as apparently he had begun living in a luxurious manner beyond his known sources of income.
In another case field by mother of personnel of Elite Force in Nowshera, Bukht Sania, she alleged that Ajmir Shah was involved in the disappearance of her son Shah Khalid.
She alleged that her son was called for a raid along with some other personnel by Ajmir Shah, on Oct 17, 2010. She alleged that later on the other personnel of the Elite Force returned back from the raid whereas the whereabouts of Shah Khalid were still
Her case was fixed for hearing on Aug 16 and was adjourned to Sept 18.
Shahnawaz Khan, lawyer for the woman petitioner, told Dawn that police had registered FIR in the case on the high court orders.
Currently, he said three inquires were in progress but with the death of Ajmir Shah it was not known whether the detainee could be traced out or not. He added that one of the inquiries was started by the special investigation unit (SIU), another one by the SSP (investigation) and the third one by the SHO of the police station after registration of the case.
There are several others cases in which the detainees were allegedly picked when late Ajmir Shah was the SHO.
However, after almost 10 months since he had died there are complications to trace out the detainees as the police officials claim that they were not aware about what Ajmir Shah had done.