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Missing poet found behind bars in PoK’s Muzaffarabad, Pakistan govt tells court can’t produce him as it is ‘foreign land’

Islamabad, May 31: The abduction case of local Kashmiri poet and journalist Ahmed Farhad Shah has taken yet another unexpected turn as the Pakistan government’s lawyer told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday that Farhad is under the custody of police in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and cannot be presented because he is on “foreign land” that does not come under the country’s jurisdiction.

Farhad has been missing for the past two weeks and it was recently found that two cases were lodged against him by the police in PoK. During Friday’s proceedings, the Additional Attorney General appeared before IHC judge Mohsin Akhter Kiani and informed the court that Farhad had at least two legal cases registered against him in Muzaffarabad and Dhirkot in PoK.

The poet’s lawyer, Imaan Mazaari, said later that the Additional Attorney General admitted in the court that Farhad was currently present on a “foreign land” and thus could not be produced in the court. As reported by the IANS earlier, Farhad was abducted from his residence in Rawalpindi after which his wife filed a case in the Islamabad High Court.

During the hearings, Judge Kayani criticised Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agencies for continuing the practice of forced abductions of people. Questions are now being raised on the way Pakistani intelligence agencies are trying to cover up the matter.

“In this case, the law is being misused to establish the supremacy of the institutions. In the last hearing, the court was told that Ahmed Farhad was in Dhirkot lock-up. But when Farhad’s wife and child went to Dhirkot, he was not there.

That means the Attorney General lied before the Islamabad High Court,” said senior political analyst Hamid Mir. “Later, the family was told that Farhad was in Muzaffarabad. When they went there, they were told that he was with the Station House Officer (SHO). So, it does not require to establish who took Farhad and who had him in custody,” he added. Strongly criticising the country’s establishment, Mir admitted that the Farhad case has given a new dimension to the issue of Kashmir. “Now that they have admitted it, I want to ask how did the Pakistan Rangers go there (to PoK) during the recent anti-inflation protest,” he asked.

Farhad’s lawyer Imaan Mazaari told the high court that details of the FIRs lodged against the poet were not revealed to his family when they visited Muzaffarabad. “The meeting was held at the Kahori police station, which is not the police station where the FIR was lodged. The FIR was lodged at Saddar police station in Muzaffarabad while Kahori is another district, about 14 km away from Muzaffarabad,” the lawyer said. “The government today admitted in the Islamabad court that Kashmir is a foreign land with its own courts, police, and legal system.

Now the courts in Kashmir will deal with the matter. This open and blatant abuse of the law needs to stop. All we want is Farhad returning home,” she added. Mazaari also said that Farhad has lost a lot of weight and also could not speak fluently during his meeting with his family. She expressed serious concerns over his health condition, insisting that the poet needs immediate medical attention.

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