LAHORE: Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan, of the Lahore High Court (LHC), on Wednesday directed the Interior Ministry to submit a report by June 27 about a Pakistani national, Iftikhar Ahmad, released from the US Army’s detention at Bagram Theatre Internment Camp, Afghanistan.
The judge also ordered the authorities concerned to arrange a psychological evaluation of Iftikhar at central jail, Sahiwal.
The counsel for the Interior Ministry requested more time to complete the investigation of 10 Pakistanis released from Bagram in the month of May.
The petitioner, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a non-government organization (NGO), through counsel Barrister Sarah Belal, filed an application about lack of cooperation offered by the state authorities in facilitating Iftikhar to access his family and lawyers, which was a violation of court orders.
She also informed that Iftikhar was suffering from severe mental illness, a fact also acknowledged by the US forces during his detention, and that a needlessly prolonged investigation process was affecting his condition.
She said that Iftikhar’s mental state had been unstable even prior to his detention by the US Army in 2010, and that his current detention in central jail, Sahiwal, had seen his condition take a turn for the worst. She also said that Iftikhar’s deteriorating mental state required that he be provided immediate treatment.
Through an earlier application, the JPP sought the release of Pakistani citizens detained at Bagram Theatre Internment Camp, Afghanistan.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the US Army released 10 Pakistanis – Awal Noor, Bismillah Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Paizoo Khan, Farman Shah, Abdul Sattar, Shah Khalid, Wajid Rehman, Rehmatullah and Sallah Muhammad (Yunus Rehmatullah) – from Bagram in May.
She said seven out of these 10 had been transferred to unknown locations in FATA and that their families and lawyers had been denied access. She said that the FATA Secretariat had rejected the letter of authorisation provided by the Interior Ministry on numerous occasions.
She said Bismillah Khan, an 80-year-old man, who had not met or spoken to any of his family member for years, was the oldest person to be detained in Bagram. She said that the ministry was needlessly prolonging the years-long nightmare of Bismillah Khan and his family.
She said that the LHC had on May 20 directed the Interior Ministry to facilitate a meeting of the 10 detainees with their families and lawyers. She alleged that in violation of
court orders, the ministry did not provide these seven freed detainees immediate and unfettered access to their families and counsel.
She requested the court to obtain explicit guarantees from the Interior Ministry regarding safety, security and humane treatment of all of the 10 Pakistanis released from Bagram and transferred to the custody of Pakistani authorities.
She said that there were concerns that fundamental rights of former Bagram detainees would be infringed during investigation by Pakistani authorities too.
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