LHC seeks govt’s explanation: Kashmiri leader’s detention
26 June 2006
Lahore: The Lahore High Court on Monday sought the federal government’s explanation in the detention of Kashmiri leader Rauf Kashmiri who was released from Indian jails after 15 years, but was arrested upon reaching Lahore in May this year. Rauf Kashmiri’s detention was challenged through a writ petition by his wife, Tasleem Akhtar, who held the Interior Ministry, the Rangers director-general and the federal government respondents pleading that they were holding her husband without a lawful authority. She stated that by detaining her husband, the government was violating fundamental rights of a citizen who had already undergone rigorous imprisonment for about 15 years while remaining in different Indian prisons for a ‘noble’ cause. The court directed deputy attorney-general Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry to seek instructions from the government and submit a reply on June 30 when the hearing of the petition would be taken up again. The petitioner stated her husband was a freedom fighter and took active part in the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir from the occupation of India. She stated her husband entered Kashmir with other freedom fighters and was arrested on June 24, 1991. He was prosecuted by the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, as a combatant and tried by a court as a terrorist under the notorious law of Tada. The court sentenced Rauf for 10 years in prison. He was lodged at a prison in Jammu from where he was to be released on Sept 11, 2000, but he was sent to jail in Jodhpur, Rajistan, where he remained confined for another six years under the Public Safety Act. She stated a Jammu-based human rights organisation agitated Rauf Kashmiri’s case before the Indian Supreme Court that ordered his release and repatriation to Pakistan. Tasleem Akhtar stated her husband returned to Pakistan in an exchange of prisoners. But as he entered Lahore via Wagah border on May 17 this year, he was arrested and taken away to an unknown destination. She stated all her efforts to know the reason for her husband’s detention had so far remained an exercise in futility. She prayed to the court to issue a proclamation to the federal government that her husband be produced and set at liberty.