ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed the federal ministerial committee on missing Baloch students to submit its report within a week.
Hearing the matter on the enforced disappearance of Baloch students, the court directed the federal law officer to tell the committee to hold meetings with the law, interior and defence ministries, and then submit a report.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said that it seems that the government is dealing with this important matter in a routine manner, and that government departments are working as if they are doing people a favour.
He said the institutions that are running on the money of taxpayers are accused of being involved in the enforced disappearance of citizens. The institutions that are accused of unlawfully keeping citizens in their custody must prove these allegations wrong because it is an important question of basic human rights, he remarked. Warning that the matter can end up at the United Nations, the judge said enforced disappearances taint the image of the country.
Justice Kayani heard the case regarding implementation on the recommendations of the Baloch enforced disappearances commission. Advocate Imaan Mazari appeared on behalf of the petitioners.
The federal law officer produced the notification with regard to the constitution of a three-member ministerial committee to deal with the enforced disappearances’ issue.
The IHC remarked that the caretaker prime minister has formed yet another committee, while the missing persons commission comprises officials who are themselves accused of being involved in enforced disappearances. If the government does not want to do anything, the court itself will take up the issue, said the judge.
He told the assistant attorney general that the government does not show any interest in resolving the issue. He said the commission was formed on the recommendation of Justice Athar Minallah, then a report was compiled, but no implementation could be observed.
He pointed out that neither are the courts able to provide any relief to the petitioners nor is the enforced disappearances commission making any progress in this regard.
Justice Kayani said the matter was sent to the PM because he and the interior minister both hail from Balochistan, and they should provide relief to the petitioners, so they would be remembered.
The judge said the students have not returned home despite the lapse of a year. The report was filed on February 22, but what has been done, he asked.
He said that either the government should reject the report or accept it and implement the recommendations, or the heads of institutions submit an undertaking that the report is false. The court directed the government’s committee to submit the report, and adjourned the hearing until November 22.