Lingering issue of missing persons ‘embarrasses’ court

Published October 6, 2023
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and  Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. — File photos
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. — File photos

ISLAMABAD: During the hearing of around a dozen petitions related to missing persons cases, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said the court felt embarrassed that the issue had been lingering for several years.

The observation came while the court was seized with the matter concerning the disappearance of journalist Mudassir Naru, who went missing while on a trip to the northern areas. His wife had filed a case before the Islamabad High Court around five years ago, but also passed away in the intervening period.

Naru’s young son is usually the one who comes to court to attend proceedings of the case.

IHC tells govt’s chief law officer to take up matter with PM

During Thursday’s proceedings, the division bench comprising of CJ Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb noted that the cases of enforced disappearances were stigmatising the image of Pakistan and bringing the country into disrepute. He sought the assistance of the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) to resolve the long-standing issue.

When Naru’s case came up, the CJ noted how the court felt embarrassed that the matter has been lingering for five years now.

On Thursday, lawyer Faisal Siddiqui also appeared as amicus curiae. While submitting a report, he informed the bench that he had framed six questions on the issue and the relief sought from court.

He said some of the petitioners were seeking relief, which is beyond the jurisdiction of IHC.

When one of the petitioners informed the court that his two sons had been missing for a very long time, Justice Aurangzeb said he can feel his pain and cannot forget the missing persons. He termed it an extraordinary case that brings disrepute to the country, adding that the state appeared to be helpless in the matter.

The bench suggested that the AGP may hold a meeting with the caretaker prime minister on the issue.

Justice Aurangzeb pointed out that a former prime minister had addressed this court on enforced disappearances, but he did not take any action to stop the practice.

Additional Attorney General Barrister Munawar Iqbal Duggal said the government is serious on the issue and had constituted a committee in this regard.

Justice Farooq remarked that if the government is serious, then it must show some result.

The court then issued a notice to the AGP and adjourned the hearing.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2023

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