Daily Times 04 Feb 2010
Case registered in line with orders of Supreme Court over disappearance of Quetta resident Ali Asghar Bangalzai
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: Police in the provincial capital registered a case on Wednesday against former corps commander Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch and two senior ISI officials, in line with orders of a Supreme Court bench hearing a case related to the disappearance of a resident of the city, Ali Asghar Bangalzai.
The family of Bangalzai, a tailor master, registered the first information report (FIR) with the Sariab Police Station against the former corps commander, former ISI Quetta chief Brig Siddique and another senior ISI official identified only as Col Bangash.
Bangalzai’s son, Ghulam Farooq, told Daily Times that his 38-year-old father, along with a friend identified as Muhammad Iqbal, was “arrested” by intelligence agencies on June 1, 2000. He said while the two were released within 22 days, his father was “taken away again on October 18, 2001”. The family have repeatedly sought the help of higher courts and human rights groups, but there has been no information on Bangalzai’s whereabouts since.
Farooq and his siblings went on the “longest hunger strike ever staged by children in the history of Pakistan” in 2006 for the release of their father.
“No police station has been willing to register a case against the intelligence agencies we hold responsible for the disappearance of our father,” said Farooq. “We are delighted to have finally managed to register a case against the responsible officials by virtue of the independent judiciary’s interest in the case.” He said the three former army officials had been named in the FIR because they “admitted before the family that Bangalzai was in their custody”. He said while the officials assured the family that Bangalzai would be released, they did not keep their word.
“We met the head of the intelligence agency in the presence of MMA leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed. The official confirmed that Ali was in their custody but would be released soon,” Nasrullah – Bangalzai’s nephew and the chairman of an organisation called Voice for Missing Persons – told Daily Times. He said the official later “backtracked from his promise and denied that Ali was in their custody”.
Nasrullah said Bangalzai’s family was very thankful to the country’s “independent judiciary” for taking notice of the case of a man who has been missing for the last eight years.
“We are hopeful that action would be taken against those responsible for the disappearance of my uncle,” he said. “It is for the first time in eight years that a case has been registered over the disappearance of my uncle,” he said.
Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch – who has been nominated in the case – is a former governor of Balochistan and a member of the current National Assembly. He recently joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
The SC bench, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, ordered the registration of a case against the intelligence officials while hearing the missing citizens’ case – a hearing of which is scheduled for today (Thursday).