Abducted lawyer returns home, appears before IHC

Advocate Hammad Saeed Dar appeared before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) after having been abducted on Saturday, stating that his assailants let him go after they realised they had kidnapped him “by mistake”.

The lawyer provided the details of his kidnapping to the court. According to him, a large group of people had gathered outside his house late on Saturday night to meet Dar. While only one of them had been allowed inside by the father, the more men had forced their way in and kidnapped Dar.

The father had said that one of the armed men identified himself as DSP Tariq of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) when asked who it is on the intercom.

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“He said he wanted to meet my son. I opened the door after getting consent from my son. When I opened the door, 10 people were standing with that person who introduced himself as DSP Tariq. However, three people accompanying the DSP entered the house and sat in the living room to wait for my son,” the lawyer’s father said.

Dar claimed that his personal belongings were taken and that he was blindfolded and then driven around in a car for a while until taken to a room. The father had confirmed that “they asked [Dar] to accompany them and took his laptop, cellphone, and wallet”.

Dar said that he could not identify his alleged abductors and did not know “what they wanted from me”.

“I said if there is a complaint or arrest warrant against me, I can present myself. [But] they didn’t tell me anything,” he added.

After hearing Dar’s story, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the state had not taken sufficient action to rescue the lawyer and expressed concern over the “deteriorating law and order situation” in the capital.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police (Operations) Waqaruddin Syed, Saddar Superintendent of Police Sarfaraz Virk and SP (Investigations) Malik Naeem, and other officials were present at the hearing.

“He has stated that the abductors after keeping him in illegal detention for forty-eight hours had released him,” the detailed order of the judge said. Justice Minallah had remarked that the continued incidents of abduction were “a serious issue”.

“This court has been consistently pointing out the deteriorating law and order situation and alleged abduction of citizens,” Justice Minallah wrote, noting that the 1400-square mile area of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) was directly supervised and administratively controlled by the federal government.

“The most cherished and valuable fundamental right is [the] liberty of a citizen; the latter’s security and the right not to be deprived from freedom of movement; the right not to be detained otherwise in accordance with law,” he added.

The justice also directed that the order issued therein be placed before the prime minister and members of his cabinet.

The court had earlier ordered Dar’s recovery by Monday in a notice issued to the interior secretary and Islamabad inspector general of police (IGP).

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