IHC attacks government for ignoring orders on missing persons

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday criticized the federal government for not implementing its directive on the recovery of missing persons and warned that the court may summon the country’s chief executive for clarification.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the warning during the hearing of similar petitions seeking recovery of missing persons.

The court directed Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Khwaja Imtiaz to read this May 25 order,

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

Justice Minallah recalled that the order had asked previous, incumbent interior ministers to appear before it.

Reading out the May 25 order, Mr Imtiaz said the court had issued notices to the federal government to comply with the “undeclared tacit approval” of former presidents, retired generals Pervez Musharraf and all chief executive officers, including Imran Khan and current prime minister Shehbaz Sharif. was instructed to give Regarding the policy regarding forced disappearance”.

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

It is up to each chief executive to refute the presumption and explain why they cannot be prosecuted for the offense of high treason.

Justice Minallah recalled that the court’s order had asked former and current interior ministers to appear before it if the directions were not complied with.

He then asked the DAG why the interior minister did not attend the court proceedings. He also sought affidavits from the Home Ministers on the people who went missing during their respective tenures.

Advocate tried again. Col. Enamur Rahim said that the court’s order was self-explanatory; However, the issue of missing persons was not being given proper coverage in the media.

He suggested that the court issue a show cause notice to the federal government.

Amina Masood Janjua, chairperson of the NGO Defense of Human Rights, told the court that the government never paid compensation to the family of a missing person.

He insisted that the country’s chief executive could be called personally.

At least 400 people, who are in the category of missing persons, have been shifted to the Central Jail in Peshawar, he said. He requested the court to direct the committee constituted on missing persons to give him the right to be heard.

The court adjourned further hearing till July 4.

Published in Dawn, June 18, 2022