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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has sought a list of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) officials and the functions they perform for countering terrorism in the country.

A two judge-bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, was hearing a suo moto on target killing of Hazara community in Balochistan. The additional attorney general (AAG) informed the apex court that on the request of the Balochistan government, the names of Muhammad Amir Ali and others were placed on Fourth Schedule of Anti-Terrorist Act, 1997.

Amir Ali, Imran Ali, Mukhtar Hassan, and Chengez Khan went missing in 2017, but recovered this year in pursuance of the Supreme Court order.

The recovered persons were working in various departments – Amir Ali in the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited, Imran in Muslim Commercial Bank, Mukhtar in a private company, and Chengez in Radio Pakistan.

In the last hearing, their families informed the apex court that though their dear ones have returned home, and re-joined the organisations where they were working previously, but they are not being paid salaries, due to the NACTA order.

The bench had directed the departments to restore their salaries, and also summoned the DG NACTA.

The AAG informed that on the request of the Balochistan government the names of four persons were placed on Fourth Schedule of Anti-Terrorist Act, 1997.

He said that in the Review Board meeting, which will be held on 24th November, it would be decided whether to retain their names on the Fourth Schedule or not.

The AAG said that these individuals were declared proscribed, adding, if they remain proscribed then their cases would be dealt under the 11th Schedule of the Act.

The chief justice said as the government had removed so many persons’ names from the 4th Schedule, then why not their names? Amir’s wife informed that the Balochistan High Court (BHC) on 11 August 2021 had directed the provincial government to remove the recovered persons from the 4th Schedule.

However, the additional advocate general Balochistan told that he does not have that order. Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel questioned why the provincial government has not complied with the BHC’s order though four months have already passed.

He also questioned the role, funds and strength of NACTA? He asked if the authority unnecessarily harasses the citizens.

Asif Saifullah, a grade-21 officer working in NACTA, informed that the authority issues the advisory and places people’s names, on the request of the federal or the provincial government, on the 4th Schedule and the NACTA website.

The chief justice said an assistant can do this job, adding, why a grade-21 officer’s service is required for this job. The chief justice directed the official to submit the details of the functions performed by the NACTA officials to counter terrorism. The case was adjourned for two weeks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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