Court wants SOPs for detention under PPO

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Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed provincial authorities to work out a standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding the detention of a person or suspect for 90 days under Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO).

Headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, a division bench of SHC, while hearing a petition against detention under new anti-terror law, instructed the provincial government to formulate SOPs to ensure that if a person is detained for 90 days under the law, not only joint investigation team is formed immediately but also a joint investigation team report submitted within a reasonable time so that any person found innocent in joint investigation teams findings be released immediately or if found offender, be dealt with in accordance with law.

These directions came on a petition filed by Muhammad Nadeem Rana, who moved the court against paramilitary forces for detaining his son unlawfully. The petitioner’s son Muhammad Hanif Rana was detained by Rangers under Section 11EEEE (1) of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 and PPO. However, he was released after the joint investigation team found him to be innocent.

Home Secretary informed the court that he notified the constitution of the joint investigation team soon after he received a letter from Rangers officials on May 7, 2014. He said that the joint investigation team conducted probe into the arrest of the petitioner’s son on July 11 and disclosed that no material was found against accused so he was cleared and released.

The judges, however, expressed displeasure over delay in constitution of joint investigation team, which the court observed, was due to lack of coordination among the law-enforcers. The purpose of detaining a person in the preventive detention is to conduct an enquiry and verify his credentials as to know whether he is involved in any such act requiring his detention under the law or not, the court said. For this purpose joint investigation team is to be formed by the home department.

The judges added that the purpose of 90-day detention does not mean that the joint investigation team should be formed at a time when detention period is about to end or that it is formed earlier to submit a report at a time when detention period ends.

 

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