15th July 2021
By Rehan Piracha
The Islamabad High Court on Thursday directed the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) to submit a report about writer Mudassar Naaru missing since August 2018.
Justice Amir Farooq was hearing a petition by Mudassar Naaru’s father for the recovery of his missing son. The court also directed that the COIED summon the family members of Naaru when the commission holds its in camera proceedings regarding the case.
Justice Amir Farooq adjourned hearing of the case for two weeks, directing that the COIED should submit its report in the next hearing.
Additional Attorney General Qasim Wadud appeared in person on the order of the court. Usman Warraich and Iman Mazari from the Journalism Defence Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council appeared in court on behalf of the petitioner.
Justice Amir Farooq questioned the additional attorney general as to why court orders in the case were being repeatedly ignored. The court inquired from the additional attorney general as to whether the COIED held its proceedings in camera. Replying in the affirmative, the additional attorney general told the court that the COIED proceedings were held in camera.
The court then asked whether the COIED issued an order sheet after the proceedings. The commission issued minutes of the proceedings, the additional attorney general said. Justice Amir Farooq then directed the additional attorney general that the COIED should summon family members to the proceedings whenever it hears the case of Mudassar Naaru.
“This time the petitioner will be called to the commission’s meeting,” the additional attorney general assured the court.
“If the petitioner is shown the proceedings, he will know what is happening in the case,” Justice Amir Farooq said.
“If this is a case of enforced disappearance, then what is the responsibility of the State?,” the court inquired. The petitioner’s counsel stated that the authorities had told the family that there would be a meeting to discuss whether the case was of enforced disappearance. “We were told of a meeting in this regard but no date and place was given,” said Iman Mazari. The court then sought a report from the COIED and adjourned the case for two weeks.
In May, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) called upon the government to ensure release of the missing journalist after the sudden death of his wife Sadaf Chughtai, leaving behind their three-year-old child Sachal.
The PFUJ called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan and to look into the case of Mudassar Naaru sympathetically as his son was left alone without his parents.
“It is strange that a journalist has been missing since long which sent his entire family in a serious crisis but the State is indifferent,” the PFUJ said.