Sajid Mehmood, an IT professional, was picked up from his house in Islamabad’s F-10 on March 14, 2016. Since then, his father, wife, and three daughters have been waiting for him to return every single day.
“I remember that day like it was yesterday,” wrote one of his daughters in her diary about the day he was picked up. “I can recount every single moment of the most horrific day of my life like it just happened.” The 11-year-old heard a knock on her door; a person entered the room and said “we need to search.”
Their house was ransacked. “The cupboards were flung open, things laid strewn around and plainclothes men with masks and guns were everywhere. As I went past the couch and looked over my shoulder, I saw two men – one with a gun – searching through our toys,” she wrote.
After a few minutes, the men had left. Her younger sister inquired about their father after which her mother looked around the house and said “They took him.”
She wrote, “I had heard about these disappearances. I felt sorry for the families held in the strangest limbo, with the children not knowing if they are orphaned or not, the wives not knowing if they are widowed or not, and the men themselves having no idea why they were picked up in the first place. I sympathised from a distance. Then it happened to us.”
Mahera Sajid even approached the court seeking justice for her husband. In July 2018, the Islamabad High Court passed a “landmark judgement” directing law enforcement and intelligence agencies to produce the missing person, according to the family lawyer’s Umer Gilani.
This was the first time the court remarked that the Special Branch, Intelligence Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence must promptly report all incidents of “enforced disappearances” and trace them. It even ordered that Mehmood’s family should be given a monthly compensation and fines were even imposed on PS Shalimar SHO, IG, DC and retired three-star Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah, the secretary of the defence division, for “neglecting their duty” and not cooperating with the court.
The judgment in Mehmood’s case was recently cited by the high court in its order in the case of Sajid Gondal, according to Gilani.
Gondal, an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, reached home five days after he went missing but Mehmood’s family is still waiting.
Mahera Sajid even wrote a letter to the PM in 2018 and then to the Shalimar ASI, but nothing became of it. IG Aamir Zulfiqar Khan even met her for two minutes in 2019 but he was “oblivious” and “dismissive.”
She has now filed a contempt petition in the case as court orders have yet to be implemented. Muhammad Azam Khan, the principal secretary to PM, Islamabad IG Aamir Zulfiqar Khan, and Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Hamza Shafqat have been named as respondents.