PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Saturday asked the people to report about any suspected terrorist in their family, warning that in case of non-compliance the family will have to face penalty that could be as harsh as capital punishment.

Urging the masses to report to police and political agent about any person that has gone missing from their family, the provincial government said in the warning that the family would be equally responsible for any terror activity by their relation.

In the warning, published in the press with title “Zarori Itlaa (Important Announcement)”, the government cautioned the public that the head of the family would have to face punishment if anyone involved in terrorism or suicide attacks from his family disappeared and they did not report it.

The warning said if anyone believes that someone from his or her family, either individually or as part of some terrorist organisation, is involved in any terrorist activity and has vanished from home for this purpose then they should inform about it in the area police station. The family would also be liable to provide suspected terrorist's photo and other details to the political agent and police, said the warning.

Upon failure to report disappearance of the suspect, the family head could be prosecuted and can end up facing confiscation of property, life sentence or even capital punishment. If the missing person is killed or arrested in connection with any terrorist act, then the family would also be interrogated, it added.

The warning said the punishment for the family of terrorists has been provided in the anti-terrorism laws and action would be taken against the non-compliant family as per the recently adopted National Action Plan on Counterterrorism. Provincial government officials said this public warning has been issued by the interior ministry.

On the other hand, human rights activists say such laws are grave violation of the human rights. Criticising this government action, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairman IA Rehman said, “It has become a fashion to disgrace law in the name of national security.”

Law expert Latif Afridi told BBC Urdu that every person is liable for his actions individually as per the constitution of the country and punishing any individual for the wrongs committed by his or her relatives is unconstitutional. He said such laws that entail collective responsibility do exist in tribal areas but in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the constitution of the country is the supreme law like in other parts of Pakistan. The constitution pledges basic human rights to every citizen and hence this government warning is unconstitutional in nature.