ISLAMABAD  - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) today (Monday) will take up two important cases; one is related to appointment of chairperson Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the second is against an alleged racket of women traffickers involved in forcing the girls into flesh trade.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddqiui will resume the hearing of both the cases.

In the first case, Justice Siddiqui had summoned secretary ministry of education, training and standards in higher education to appear before the court in person on April 14 (today) in the matter of appointment of a permanent chairperson of HEC.

The single bench had also directed the secretary to appear before the court and apprise the court what process had been initiated regarding the appointment of chairman HEC. Earlier, the bench had directed the federal government to appoint a new permanent chairman of the HEC by February 12 after the government had assured the court that process for appointment had already initiated.

In this regard, a petitioner Khawaja Aurangzeb had moved the court through his counsel Barrister Afzal Hussain. Hussain told the court that the post had been lying vacant for the last eight months. He contended that the government seemed least bothered about the education sector and was showing its non-serious attitude in addressing this problem as yet.

It is pertinent to mention here that the important post of chairperson of the commission has been lying vacant since August 26, 2013 after the retirement of then Chairman Dr Javed Leghari. After the expiry of former chairman's tenure, the government had appointed an acting chairman HEC Imtiaz Hussain Gillani, vice chancellor (VC) of Peshawar University of Engineering & Technology, whose acting charge lapsed on February 12 and later the prime minister ordered for his extension till permanent appointment. The second important matter is related to a petition in which the same bench had directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit its reply about the facts after registration of a case against an alleged racket of women traffickers involved in forcing the girls into sex trade.

Justice Siddiqui had issued these directions in a petition of one Zunaira who moved the court against a Faisalabad-based racket of women traffickers. During the last hearing, Deputy Director (Law) FIA Qaiser Masud, who was present in court premises to appear before the court in some other matter, put appearance before Justice Siddiqui on court's call. The court noted in its verdict, "Instead of issuance of notices, he is directed to put the version of FIA in writing, regarding the facts after registration of case and reasons on the basis of which the arrest of accused persons has not been affected as yet."

Talking to The Nation, Zulfiqar Ahmad Bhutta Advocate told that FIA had yet failed to take effective measures to arrest the accused involved in the case and the accused persons as well as some influential of the areas were also pressurising his clients to withdraw their complaint against them. He told that FIA registered first information report (FIR) of the matter on January 01 but the investigation officer of the case could not arrest the accused yet.

Earlier, the petitioner Zunaira had filed the petition through her counsel Zulfiqar Ahmad Bhutta Advocate and informed the court about her tale of becoming a commercial sex worker in Dubai. The counsel informed that Zunaira and her sister Shaista started working as housemaids in the house of one Aisha, wife of Ashfaq, four years before. He added that after sometime owners of the house started convincing both the sisters to go to Dubai with them where they had been running a beauty parlour. The petitioner told the court that the accused persons asked them to work at their beauty parlour and they arranged their travelling documents and took them along to Dubai.

"At the time of their departure both the girls were 15-year-old and 16-year-old but the accused persons managed to prepare documents where the girls were shown elder than their real age," said Bhutta. He added that in Dubai the accused persons had been running brothels and used to supply girls to different hotels. These two girls were also forced into sex trade, and upon their protest, accused persons threatened them that they would involve their parents in serious crimes with the help of Pakistani police. From time to time the petitioner and her sister protested against the accused persons but they were always beaten up brutally. She said that the accused had been carrying on with human trafficking and devastating numerous families, and immediate action was required by the FIA in collaboration with Interpol. The court had adjourned the matter till April 14 (today) for further proceedings in this connection.