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IHC orders to establish cell in ministry to address missing persons’ cases

                ISLAMABAD, Sep 09 (APP):The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday adjourned hearing of the missing persons’ case till November 14, and directed the Ministry of Interior to establish a cell regarding the matter.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case pertaining missing of Journalist Mudasir Naro and other citizens. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appeared in the court while Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Federal Minister Law and Justice Azam Nazir Tarar and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah were also accompanied him.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured the court to solve the missing people case and said that he was answerable to the people of Pakistan and Allah Almighty.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Athar Minullah remarked that it was the responsibility of the state to redress the sufferings of the victim families. The court had summoned the prime minister because it was a very serious issue and being heard by this bench for several months.

The court noted that the response of the state into the matter had not been as per its responsibility. The court said a chief executive ruled this country for nine years, he admitted proudly in his book that he sold the citizens abroad. But if we talk about the constitution, there couldn’t be a state within the state, he added.

Justice Minallah said that the matter was sent to the federal cabinet and a cabinet committee was formed. This matter was not only about the formation of the committee, he said, adding that this court considered “it appropriate that you tell us what was the actual issue”.

The court further said that the commission on missing persons was set up but its proceedings that came out were very disappointing. IHC’s CJ said that disappearance of people was the biggest form of torture and the court had no other option but to ask the executive. “What should we do when the state expressed ignorance as who made the citizens disappeared,” he asked.

Addressing to the prime minister, the Chief Justice said that you were working for the flood victims and came to the court by understanding this issue. The forced disappearances were a deviation from the constitution, he said, adding that the national security of this country was in your hands.

He said that there were many issues of governance in the country, adding that the problems of this country would be solved only when the constitution was fully restored. He remarked that the civilians were under executive control and this court has confidence in you.

The chief justice said when a little boy comes to the court for his father’s recovery then to which the court should declare accountable. The same child was also met with the then prime minister, you should tell this court the solution, he said. 

Who should be held responsible in the missing persons’ case, the CJ IHC asked. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said it was his duty to appear before the court. He said that the UN Secretary General was in Pakistan and I had a meeting with him but when I got the court order I said that I would go to the court.

Shehbaz Sharif said that the son of the missing journalist asked in the court that make him (child) meet with his father. This sentence of the child was very disturbing for me, he added. The prime minister said I wouldn’t waste any opportunity and assured you that I would make the missing persons meet with their families.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that I would leave no stone unturned to solve the missing persons’ case. I am answerable to the people and Allah Almighty, he said, adding that I went to the jail twice in last four years and my family also suffered the pain.

He said that the committee formed on this issue had met six times, adding that he would submit the report of its every to the court. The report wouldn’t be a story but would be based on the facts, he said.

The Prime Minister said that implementation of court orders was his primary responsibility. He said he visited flood-affected areas and met the victim people. It was his duty and primary responsibility to listen to them and try to resolve their issue.

He said the issue of missing persons had been standing for almost last 20 years. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that I assured this court that as per my domain I would fulfill my duty. He said he formed a committee in this regard after he became the Prime Minister. The committee members have met the families of the missing persons in different areas.

He said that he would submit the committee report to this court every month. He said he had been the Chief Minister of Punjab province as well. I am a very simple person and being a human being, I tried to serve my nation, he added.

The prime minister said he could understand from where these affected families came and he could also understand their pain and sufferings.

He said he would view the issue personally and with the will of Allah, no person would remain missing anymore. The court would notice our attitude in missing persons’ cases, the prime minister said.

During the hearing, Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazir Tarar told the court that it was a 21-year-old issue and they couldn’t claim that it could be resolved in ten days. But the work was definitely being done, he said.

Chief Justice IHC said that it was shocking for the court when Amina Masood Janjua told it about the performance of inquiry commission on missing person. He said that this court had been affected because the constitution has been affected.

It should be make sure that no one comes to the court and complain about missing of someone, the IHC CJ said, adding that bring this matter to the parliament and introduce legislations. The court said other countries including India had already legislated on this.

The court said that if this issue was not resolved then it would hold the executive as responsible. Later, the court adjourned hearing on the case till November 14, on the request of ordered law minister.

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