IHC seeks report
on implementation
of missing persons’
production orders

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 ISLAMABAD: While hearing a petition for the recovery of missing persons – Zahid Amin and Sadiq Amin, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday sought a report regarding the implementation of their production orders. Imaan Mazari Advocate, the daughter of former federal minister Shireen Mazari, appeared before the court on behalf of the petitioners.

Iman Mazari, advocate

The registrar of the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances adopted before the court that the commission had placed Zahid Amin in the category of enforced disappearances in the light of the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) report.

“Who did you issue the production orders when the JIT said it was an enforced disappearance?” the court questioned. Does the commission issue production orders only for formal proceedings?” the IHC chief justice inquired from the registrar of the commission.

“Why are you not providing relevant information to the petitioners? You should reach out to the petitioners yourself,” the court said.

“The commission is not treating the families of the missing persons properly. You should visit their houses,” the court expressed displeasure. When were the production orders issued? What is the date?” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah inquired from the registrar of the commission.

“The production orders of Zahid Amin were issued on September 14, 2020,” stated Imaan Mazari, lawyer for the petitioners.

“Did you forget to issue the production orders? Those, who were ordered to issue the production orders, did they refuse?” the court questioned form the registrar.

Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah

“No one refused,” the registrar of the commission replied.

“Did you order an action against them for not complying with the production orders?” the court questioned further.

“You issued production orders on September 14, 2020. You might have seen something in the prime facie,” the court pointed out.

“Don’t embarrass yourself. Could there be a bigger issue of human rights violation?” the court added.

The further hearing of the case was adjourned till July 4 next.

IHC assails govt

It may be recalled that the Islamabad High Court on last Friday assailed the federal government for not implementing its directive for recovery of missing persons and warned that the court could summon the chief executive of the country for explanation.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the warning during the hearing of identical petitions seeking recovery of missing persons. The court directed Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Khawaja Imtiaz to read out its May 25 order.

The DAG said that in compliance with the court’s order a committee had been constituted for the recovery of missing persons, adding that the federal minister for law and justice was also a member of the committee.

A file picture of people demonstrating for the recovery of their missing relatives.

Reading out the May 25 order, Mr Imtiaz said the court had directed the federal government to serve notices on former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and all successive chief executives, including Imran Khan and incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, for following an “undeclared tacit approval of the policy regarding enforced disappearances”.

“Pervez Musharraf has candidly conceded in his autobiography, In the Line of Fire, that ‘enforced disappearance’ was an undeclared policy of the state,” the order said.

“The onus is on each chief executive to rebut the presumption and to explain why they may not be tried for the offence of high treason,” it added.

Justice Minallah reminded that the court order had asked the previous and incumbent interior ministers to appear before it if the directives were not complied with.

He then asked the DAG why the interior ministers did not attend the court proceedings. He also sought affidavits from the interior ministers on the persons who went missing in their respective tenures.

Advocate retried Col Inamur Rahim said the court order was self-explanatory; however, the missing persons’ issue was not being given the due coverage in the media. He suggested that the court issue a show-cause notice to the federal government.

Amina Masood Janjua, chairperson of NGO Defence of Human Rights, informed the court that the government had never compensated the family of any missing person.

She insisted that the country’s chief executive might be summoned in person.

She said as many as 400 persons, who were in the category of missing persons, had been transferred to Central Jail in Peshawar. She requested the court to direct the committee constituted on missing persons to give her right of audience. The court adjourned further hearing till July 4.