ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday assailed the federal government for not implementing its directive for recovery of missing persons and warned that the court could summon the chief executive of the country for explanation.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the warning during the hearing of identical petitions seeking recovery of missing persons.

The court directed Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Khawaja Imtiaz to read out its May 25 order.

The DAG said that in compliance with the court’s order a committee had been constituted for the recovery of missing persons, adding that the federal minister for law and justice was also a member of the committee.

Justice Minallah recalls order had asked previous, incumbent interior ministers to appear before it

Reading out the May 25 order, Mr Imtiaz said the court had directed the federal government to serve notices on former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and all successive chief executives, including Imran Khan and incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, for following an “undeclared tacit approval of the policy regarding enforced disappearances”.

“Pervez Musharraf has candidly conceded in his autobiography, In the Line of Fire, that ‘enforced disappearance’ was an undeclared policy of the state,” the order said.

“The onus is on each chief executive to rebut the presumption and to explain why they may not be tried for the offence of high treason,” it added.

Justice Minallah reminded that the court order had asked the previous and incumbent interior ministers to appear before it if the directives were not complied with.

He then asked the DAG why the interior ministers did not attend the court proceedings. He also sought affidavits from the interior ministers on the persons who went missing in their respective tenures.

Advocate retried Col Inamur Rahim said the court order was self-explanatory; however, the missing persons’ issue was not being given the due coverage in the media.

He suggested that the court issue a show-cause notice to the federal government.

Amina Masood Janjua, chairperson of NGO Defence of Human Rights, informed the court that the government had never compensated the family of any missing person.

She insisted that the country’s chief executive might be summoned in person.

She said as many as 400 persons, who were in the category of missing persons, had been transferred to Central Jail in Peshawar. She requested the court to direct the committee constituted on missing persons to give her right of audience.

The court adjourned further hearing till July 4.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2022

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