KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the provincial authorities to constitute an independent cell to exclusively investigate and locate the whereabouts of missing persons.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro came down hard on the officials concerned for not properly implementing the last order of the court and observed that the force being formed by the provincial authorities was a replica of an already existing joint investigation team and it would not fulfil the purpose.

On the last hearing, the bench had expressed its dissatisfaction over the reports filed by the police in missing persons' cases and directed the provincial authorities to constitute an ‘enforced disappearance task force’ to exclusively investigate such cases.

When the bench took up a set of identical petitions regarding missing persons for hearing on Thursday, an additional advocate general produced a copy of the notification issued on Jan 25 for the formation of a force in the light of the last order.

However, the bench observed that it had directed the authorities to form a task force to investigate the matter independent of other law enforcement agencies and find out the whereabouts of missing persons exclusively in terms and mandate under the criminal procedure code.

The proposed force has to work like an independent cell answerable to the DIGs concerned and ultimately to the provincial police officer and the officials comprising such force are to be given the exclusive task of tracing out missing persons without any other assignment, it added.

Subsequently, the bench summoned the advocate general of Sindh and he assured the court that the task force on the lines as suggested by the court would be formulated and the notification in question would be supplanted with a new one after determining necessary details.

While adjourning the matter to Feb 15, the bench directed the officials to do the needful till the next date of hearing.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2022

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