Pakistan court identifies six 'missing persons' taken by military

A Pakistani missing person (center) leaves after appearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013. Pakistan's Supreme Court on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, identified six missing persons who relatives say were disappeared by
A Pakistani missing person (center) leaves after appearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013. Pakistan's Supreme Court on Saturday, Dec 7, 2013, identified six missing persons who relatives say were disappeared by the country's powerful army from a detention centre. -- PHOTO: AP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's Supreme Court on Saturday identified six missing persons who relatives say were disappeared by the country's powerful army from a detention centre.

Relatives launched a legal bid to force the military to produce 35 people who they alleged are being held in "unofficial" military detention at a string of secret investigation centres.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan took up the case and ordered the Defence Ministry to produce these "missing persons".

Acting upon the court's advice, the authorities presented some of the detainees in the court Saturday during an in-camera session.

Of those, six were identified as missing people who had relatives complaining about their disappearance.

"Six missing persons, who were presented in the court today, have been identified," Pakistan Attorney-General Muneer Malik told AFP.

The court did not allow the media to witness the proceedings.

Speaking after the proceedings an official of the Defence Ministry said they had obeyed the court's order to present the missing persons.

"We presented these people to obey the court orders and will present more people before the court on Monday or Tuesday to further act on the court directives," Mr Arif Nazir, a senior official of ministry of defence, told AFP.

Defence of Human Rights (DHR), an organisation formed by the relatives of the missing persons, says that around 2,000 people have disappeared from across the country.

Last month, a group of over two dozen people - mostly women - marched 700km from Quetta, the capital of the south-western Baluchistan province, to the southern port city of Karachi to register their protest over disappearance of their relatives.

Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who retires on Dec 12, has actively persued Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies, which are often seen as untouchable, demanding they explain the fate of missing persons believed to have disappeared into their custody.