July 4, 2022

By Rehan Piracha

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Athar Minallah has directed that Prime Minister Shehbaz will appear before the court on September 9 if the federal government fails to produce missing persons listed in a petition.

The court order on July 4 came on petitions seeking recovery of missing persons whose production orders issued by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances had not been implemented for several years. In the previous hearing, the court had directed the COIED to report on what action had been taken against state functionaries for not implementing the production orders.

“The Federal Government i.e. the worthy Prime Minister shall ensure that the missing citizens described in the petitions in hand are produced before the Court on the date fixed, failing which the worthy Prime Minister shall appear in person to justify the failure of the State to fulfill its constitutional obligations,” the CJP said in his order.

“The worthy Prime Minister is also expected to inform the Court regarding actions taken against those public functionaries who have been or continue to be involved in the most inhuman and heinous phenomenon of ‘enforced disappearances’,” reads the court order, a copy of which is available with Voicepk.net.

The IHC also directed that the Prime Minister was ‘expected to demonstrably establish that the phenomenon of “enforced disappearances” is not an undeclared policy of the State’. 8. According to the court order, the prime minister is to appear before the court at 10:30 am on September 9.

The court again castigated the dismal performance of the COIED in recovery of missing persons in the country. “Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances remained ineffective, rather, it has contributed towards making the agony and pain of the victims more profound.”

The IHC CJ observed that that the ‘existence of the grave phenomenon of “enforced disappearances” and impunity against it has never been denied but the State, through the Federal Government, has so far failed to dispel the impression that it is an undeclared policy’.

The chief justice said amici curiae, Mr Abid Saqi, former Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council, Ms Amina Masood Janjua and Mr Farhat Ullah Babar, have agreed that the Chief Executive (Prime Minister) should be summoned to explain the failure of the Federal Government to demonstrably show its political will by recovering the missing citizens or effectively tracing their whereabouts, to the satisfaction of the loved ones.

In its order, the Chief Justice said a last and final opportunity was being afforded to the Attorney General to argue in the petitions that were being adjourned on the government’s request.


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