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SC orders authorities to produce missing persons today

August 27, 2013

QUETTA, Aug 26: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has ordered the arrest of officials and personnel found involved in disappearance of people and dumping of their decomposed bodies in Balochistan.

The chief justice made these remarks during a hearing of the Balochistan law and order case. He directed the authorities concerned to produce the missing persons before the court on Tuesday.

Other members of the apex court bench are Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Azmat Saeed.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad, Additional Attorney General Shah Khawar, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Sukhira, newly-appointed Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid and representatives of the federal interior ministry and provincial home department appeared before the court.

The chief justice said: “We had pinned hopes on the new government, but it is doing nothing for the recovery of missing persons. The previous government, which had recovered some missing persons, was better than the incumbent government.”

He observed: “Twenty personnel, including a deputy inspector general of police, were killed in Quetta but no terrorist was arrested so far. The government and agencies are accountable to the heirs of missing persons. The officials and personnel found involved in disappearance of people should be arrested, missing persons be produced and a report should be submitted to the court.”

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry recalled an allegation by a former police chief that the FC was involved in disappearance of people.

“Do you want to see your officers produced before the court,” he wondered. It should be a matter of concern for the FC if somebody misused its uniform, the chief justice added.

Justice Chaudhry said that laws were equal for all, including the president of the country and a common man. No one had the right to detain people illegally, he said.

“If somebody is involved in a case, he should be arrested and produced before a court,” he said.

He remarked the court was aware that personnel of security forces were also being killed in terrorist attacks, but it was not a justification for forced disappearance of people.

Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja said there were 55,000 personnel of FC and army in Balochistan, but disappearance of people had continued.

The court heard eight cases relating to missing persons and law and order, but the government failed to produce any result, he remarked.

He said this attitude of the government and law enforcement agencies was discouraging for relatives of missing persons and they were now staying away from courts.

He observed that despite the working of a task force, committees and a commission on missing persons, the issue could not be resolved. People had rejected the report of the commission, he said.

Justice Khawaja told the officials of law enforcement agencies that they should not demoralise their forces but help the government and the court in recovery of missing persons.

Justice Azmat Saeed said that objections were being raised about the role of the government and intelligence agencies on the issue of missing persons.

The court put off the hearing till Tuesday.