Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Wednesday remarked that there will come a day when intelligence officials will also be held accountable and face prosecution for cases regarding enforced disappearances.

The IHC judge made this remark as he resumed hearing a petition regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances.

The commission was established in 2011 to trace missing persons and fix responsibility on the individuals or organisations responsible for it.

At the previous hearing on Nov 29, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan had informed the court that 22 allegedly missing Baloch students had been recovered while the whereabouts of 28 others were still unknown.

Justice Kayani had expressed displeasure at the fact that 28 persons were still missing.

The hearing

Today’s hearing was was attended by AGP Awan, Additional AGP Munawar Iqbal Dugal, representative of the legal heirs of Baloch students Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, and others.

At the outset, the AGP reported that 68 individuals had been recovered so far, and the list of the recovered persons had been shared with Mazari.

Mazari countered, stating that 56 of the 68 people had been recovered, leaving 12 still missing.

“As per our information, 15 are missing, while as per their information around 12 are missing,” the AGP informed the court.

Mazari questioned the accuracy of the statement regarding Feroz Baloch’s release, noting, “When we contacted his family, it transpired that he has not been released.”

The judge said the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Interior and other major departments should submit undertakings to ensure that no one will go missing in the future.

Justice Kayani underscored the importance of state institutions obeying the law and expressed the need for them to have confidence in the courts.

“Police are the front face of the state,” remarked Justice Kayani. “You may not do anything today, but the time will come when officials of intelligence agencies will face prosecution,” he added.

“Enforced disappearances take place because state institutions do not adhere to the rule of law,” Justice Kayani remarked.

The judge pointed out that trials of terrorists and criminals were in fact being held in the courts, adding, “If there are any anti-state elements in Balochistan, then they must also go on trial.”

Justice Kayani said that no Baloch missing person had appeared in his court upon being recovered, and wondered how they were doing and what their medical conditions was.

Mazari mentioned statements from families of missing persons, asserting that CTD personnel would apprehend their family members, and subsequently, cases would be registered against them.

The judge expressed concern, stating that a country such as Pakistan could not tolerate such practices.

Mazari informed the court that Baloch protesters camped outside the National Press Club in Islamabad were being “threatened through a death squad.”

In response to the judge’s inquiry about the death squad, she explained that it was a squad “under the patronage of the state that kills people.”

The judge observed that such matters bring disrepute to the country, and directed the station house officer of Kohsar Police Station in Islamabad to ensure the security of the protesters in the capital.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until Jan 13.

Opinion

Editorial

Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...
Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...