KARACHI / HYDERABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday directed law enforcement agencies to set up a special cell to ascertain information about missing persons.
While hearing dozens of applications filed by the relatives of missing persons at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry, the chief justice expressed resentment towards the applicants for their failure to maintain the decorum of the court and for disturbing the proceedings.
A large number of people, most of them women, had gathered outside the court building. They were carrying placards and demanding recovery of their missing relatives who have been allegedly picked up by law enforcement agencies.
Later, they were allowed to enter the premises of the apex court and asked to place their applications before the chief justice in the courtroom.
Says he will soon ask nation to ‘offer a sacrifice for a cause’
During the hearing, the applicants broke into tears, raised a hue and cry and hurled allegations against law enforcement agencies whose officials were present in the courtroom. One of the applicants said that her elderly father had been missing for 14 months.
The chief justice expressed sympathy with the applicants and said that they should be informed about the fate of their relatives. He observed that it was not necessary that all of missing persons had been picked up by law enforcement agencies as some of them might have met with accidents or been kidnapped due to personal enmity.
However, the emotionally charged applicants disturbed the proceedings, scuffled with police personnel and a woman pounded the rostrum with fists. The chief justice withdrew to his chamber but later reappeared in the courtroom and expressed displeasure over the attitude of the relatives of missing persons.
The CJP asked an applicant how dared she pound the rostrum, adding that he would have sent her to jail for committing contempt of court if she was not a woman. She extended an apology.
The chief justice told the applicants that he had left for Karachi at 2am to hear their cases, but they were committing contempt of court.
He directed his staff to collect all applications from the relatives of missing persons and ordered that action be taken on them.
Earlier, the inspector general of Sindh police, the director general of the Pakistan Rangers Sindh and officials of intelligence agencies appeared before the CJP in his chamber. They had been summoned by the top judge after he received complaints from people about their missing relatives during his visit to Sukkur, Larkana and Hyderabad.
Earlier addressing members of the Sindh High Court Bar Association at a banquet in Hyderabad on Saturday night, the CJP said that nations offered sacrifices for their future and posterity and he wished to see a nation that rendered sacrifices, adding that “I will soon demand one such sacrifice for a cause and the nation will hopefully not disappoint me”.
He said that misuse and abuse of authority by executive bodies led to litigation menace, adding that if the executive improved its functioning, it would lessen burden of litigation.
He emphasised the need for reforming obsolete laws and hoped that the coming parliament would play a role in this regard.
He said that people had an inalienable right to life, equality and right to property but the judiciary “cannot discharge its duty to ensure these rights properly”. “I feel myself responsible for it as I have served for 21 years in the judiciary. I am not pessimist but it leaves a lot to be desired in the judiciary.”
Terming litigation a curse and ailment for society, he said that in the absence of the bar’s cooperation, the bench could not provide justice to people. He said that as the institutional head and paterfamilias, he believed that friends of the bar would have to extend their cooperation to overcome delay in cases’ disposal.
“After facing injustice, a litigant faces cases for 40 years and ends up getting adjournment on every date”, Chief Justice Nisar deplored. He said that the alternative dispute resolution mechanism was acceptable worldwide to limit litigation. Even the bar in the US opposed it initially but now it was supportive of it after finding it best procedure to resolve issues, he added.
On the CJP’s arrival in the hall, relatives of missing persons staged a protest. He received an application from a girl about enforced disappearance of her father Khadim Arijo. A group of lawyers raised slogans against the Kalabagh dam. The chief justice also met sacked policemen of Sindh Reserved Police.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2018