IHC issues last
warning to govt,
summons Shehbaz
over missing persons

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ISLAMABAD: Giving ‘last warning’ to the government, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday said that if the government did not take concrete steps for the recovery of ‘missing persons’, then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would have to appear in the court on September 9, 2022.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallh

During the hearing of applications filed for the recovery of Mudassar Naro and others, IHC Chief Justice (CJ) Justice Athar Minallah asked the Ministry of Interior official who was present in the courtroom to name the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs), which were under his ministry’s control.

The official replied these were Islamabad Police, Rangers and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). “We are ready to present in the court the reports compiled by these LEAs on missing persons,” the official said.

CJ Minallah rebuked him and told him in clear and categorical terms that the court meant business. “Don’t pay lip service here,” he remarked.

He went on to say that those governments were to blame during whose tenure these persons had disappeared. “The officials of ISI and other agencies had stated this in unambiguous terms that the Naro’s case was of ‘enforced disappearance’. There is no doubt that neither the present nor the past government took the issue seriously. The primary responsibility lies on the shoulders of the federal government and the chief executive,” he remarked. 

A recent picture shows distressed relatives of missing people demonstrating for their recovery in Quetta.

Admitting progress in these cases was not ‘satisfactory’, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Arshid Mehmood Kiani assured the court that it would see the state enforcing its writ in the case. “I am not sure about the previous government, but as far as the present government is concerned, it is trying its best for the recovery of these persons,” he claimed.

Also claiming that the government was sensitive to the pain and agony the petitioners were going through at the moment, the DAG sought more time from the court.

IHC CJ remarked said had the present government been cognizant of the feelings of the families of missing persons, it would have reached out to them before their reaching the court.