December 10th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Rahat Mahmood, the mother of the missing journalist Mudassar Naaru, told Voicepk that government functionaries have said that they will be informing the family about efforts to recover his son within a couple of days.
“I’m very hopeful after the meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan as it seems that efforts for my son’s recovery have begun in the right direction,” Naaru’s mother said in a talk with Voicepk, adding that the PM and Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari had also met her husband and Mudassar’s four-year-old son Sachal on December 9.
In a sudden and tragic turn of events Mudassar Naaru’s wife, Sadaf Chughtai had passed away on May 8, 2021. After her passing, Naaru’s son Sachal was taken in by his grandmother.
The Prime Minister had met Naaru’s family on the orders of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
IHC hearing on Monday
The IHC has directed the federal government to produce the missing journalist on December 13. “The Attorney General was also present in the meeting with the PM and he would be a giving a report to the family prior to the hearing in the IHC on Monday,” Naaru’s mother said in response to a question whether officials would be acting on court directions to satisfy the family about actions taken to locate Naaru.
After the meeting, government officials told the family they would inform them about developments regarding Naaru’s recovery in a couple of days, Rahat Mahmood said, adding that the functionaries assured them that case of the missing journalist would be re-opened and re-investigated.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan said he knew nothing about my son’s disappearance case,” Rahat said while responding to a question on what the prime minister said to them in the meeting. Naaru’s mother said the Prime Minister seemed unaware of the family’s prolonged protests and social media campaigns for Naaru’s recovery since his disappearance in August 2018.
‘PM asked about Naaru’s profession’
Naaru’s mother said the Prime Minister asked her about the profession of her son. “We said he was a journalist and the Prime Minister responded by saying that journalists are often let off early,” Rahat Mahmood said.
Naaru’s mother said the Prime Minister expressed concerns about the wellbeing of Naaru’s four-year-old son. The PM said the government wanted to do something for the upkeep of Naaru’s son but they told him just wanted Naaru reunited with his family, she added.
Asked about what the family told the Prime Minister, Rahat Mahmood said they told him that they were seeking his help to recover their missing son as he was the highest office holder of the country and controlled all government agencies in the country.
“We have exhausted every channel from sit-ins, road protests, the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances and the Islamabad High Court to locate Mudassar Naaru,” Rahat Mahmood quoted her words she told the Prime Minister Imran Khan in her meeting. “What else can we do?” Rahat Mahmood said as she broke down into tears before the Prime Minister.
‘COIED said Naaru gone on his own’
Naaru’s mother said the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances had failed to trace Naaru, adding that the report submitted to the commission stated that he had gone on his own accord. “I asked them to tell the family where Naaru has gone if he is not being detained by the agencies, ” she said.
“The police and agencies have done nothing to locate Naaru until now,” Rahat Mahmood said. However, she said the family got a good response from the IHC, adding that the meeting with the PM was a result of the court’s directions.
Asked about submission of affidavits as requested by Federal Minister For Human Rights Shireen Mazari, Usman Warriach, the counsel of Naaru’s family, said family members had submitted affidavits to the IHC in the last hearing.
“One of the affidavits relates to Sachal’s guardianship and expenses that the grandparents spent on him,” Warriach told Voicepk.net. However, he said the family was not seeking any compensation from the government over the missing journalist. Warriach said the IHC has directed the production of Mudassar Naaru at the next hearing on December 13.
In a tweet following the meeting on December 9, Mazari said the Prime Minister issued orders for a complete report on Naaru’s whereabouts and his family expressed confidence in the PM’s commitment.