KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday expressed resentment over the federal authorities’ failure to file comments in the cases of “missing” persons.

The two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, who was hearing dozens of identical petitions about “missing” persons, came down hard on an assistant attorney general for not submitting replies in a number of cases.

It observed that apparently the federal government was not taking any interest in the issue of missing persons as despite issuing notices time and again the attorney general office was not responding.

When a petition seeking the whereabouts of naval official Imran Yusuf came up for hearing, the bench was informed through an investigation report of Pakistan Navy that none of its officials was involved in the case.

Holding of bazaar allowed by authorities despite judicial commission ban

Pasban leader’s son

In another petition, a federal law officer contended that Saad Siddiqui, a son of Pasban leader Usman Moazzam, was being kept in an internment centre, adding that he was unaware of the name of an official of the interior ministry who gave the information to him.

The investigating officer said he had sent letters to all the internment centres to ascertain the whereabouts of Saad, but a response was still awaited.

Justice Phulpoto deplored that the man had been missing since 2014, but no serious effort had been made for his recovery and summoned an additional attorney general at the next hearing.

The bench also asked the provincial task force and joint investigation team for missing persons to repeat their sessions in most of the cases.

The bench also issued notices to the home secretary, the provincial police officer, the Rangers DG and other respondents on fresh petitions for April 24.

Bazaar on riverbank allowed

Despite a ban imposed by the Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation, authorities granted permission for Sunday bazaars on the Malir riverbanks.

The permission letter, issued by the director of bureau of supply and prices, government of Sindh, said that consequent upon the non-objection certificates submitted by the police and the landowning agency, the permission to organise Sunday bazaar at a ground in the Malir River near Qayyumabad was granted.

On Feb 16, 2018 the commission, headed by retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, had imposed a ban on holding a bazaar on the banks of the river and thereafter the permission accorded by a former deputy commissioner of Korangi was withdrawn. The commission had also ordered removal of all encroachments from the banks.

In May last year, the commission had dismissed an application seeking review of the previous order and permission for Sunday bazaars on the riverbanks and observed that there was no provision in the law to grant such a permission.

The proposal of the applicants could not be accepted as activities of this nature within the storm-water drains, whether temporary or otherwise, would definitely interrupt and obstruct the flow of these drains, the commission said and added that even the Malir riverbank could not be encroached upon under the relevant law applicable to such drains.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2019