September 15th, 2020
The Islamabad High Court has termed the rise in the number of missing persons as alarming saying that the police had informed the court that there were 50 cases in the federal capital alone.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, who was hearing a petition for the recovery of a missing person Abdul Qadoos in Islamabad, said that according to a police report more than 50 cases of missing persons had been filed in the federal capital.
“Put the issue of missing persons before the Prime Minister and see if it is a law and order situation or something else,” the judge told Tariq Mehmood Khokhar, the additional attorney general. Khokhar informed the court that the PM and the federal cabinet had already taken notice of the disappearances after the federal interior secretary brought the matter to their notice on the order of the high court on August 7.
PM forms committee on enforced disappearances
The additional attorney general said the PM had formed a committee to look into the cases of enforced disappearances and submit recommendations to prevent such incidents. The committee, headed by Law Minister Farogh Naseem, comprises advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Shahzad Akbar, Chief Commissioner Amir Ali Ahmed, and IGP Aamir Zulfiqar Khan, Khokhar said.
He told the court that the committee had the jurisdiction to examine enforced disappearances not only in Islamabad but also in other provinces.
Justice Kayani said the court desired to bring this matter to the knowledge of the prime minister and the federal cabinet. He said the courts were not meant to rescue the missing persons on their own and the judges could only issue directives to the state institutions.
According to the law, the judge remarked, only the police had the power to make arrests. “But sadly, other agencies are also making arrests that are against the law. Protecting the fundamental rights of citizens is the responsibility of the federal government. If an institution interferes with the protection of rights, it will be misconduct of the federal government,” the judge said.
A missing person returns home after 8 months
Khokhar informed the court that Abdul Qadoos, who had been missing for eight months, has returned home. A case had been registered with Karachi Company police station on the disappearance of Qadoos, a resident of the federal capital, on January 1, 2020.
This is the second time in less than a week that a person, who went missing, has been released by unknown abductors. Earlier, an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Sajid Gondal, was released by his abductors on Tuesday last week.
Justice Kayani had last week summoned Interior Minister Ijaz Shah and Secretary Yousaf Nasim Khokhar. However, when the court had resumed hearing, Khokhar said the interior minister had undergone a cardiac treatment and was unable to attend the court proceedings. The court then disposed of the petition.