LAHORE, Feb 2: Losing all hopes in the PCO-dictated judiciary for the recovery of their dear ones allegedly in the custody of agencies for the last five years, relatives of these missing persons have started finding other means for their solicitation.

A delegation of the aggrieved families, assembled at the platform of Defence of Human Rights, called on PML-N patron Muhammad Nawaz Sharif here on Saturday, carrying their case for the first time to the political capital of the country by narrating their agonising stories in the presence of the media.

“Please, please, make me hear just once the voice of my son. I want you nothing more than this,” cried the mother of Ateequr Rehman, 26, an assistant engineer in the Atomic Energy Commission who was picked up by an agency’s sleuths on his wedding day four years ago. There is no report about him since then.

“At least deliver us the dead body of my brother so that our souls disturbed for the last couple of years may calm down,” bemoans the sister of Raja Muhammad Iqbal, who is missing since July 2006.

Such were the moving narrations of the relatives of the missing persons that there was not a single person who would not have shed tears.

The aggrieved families were frustrated that the chief justice (Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry), who was providing balm to their wounds by making the agencies produce the missing persons, was now seeking justice for himself. They appealed to the PML-N leader to come to their relatives’ rescue by using his influence as the former prime minister.

Mrs Amna Masood Janjua, whose husband was also among 12,000-strong list of missing persons, was leading the delegation. She said there were 517 cases of missing persons with the Supreme Court, but they could not find place in the apex court’s cause list after Nov 2 when 60 judges of superior courts, along with then CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, were deposed in an unprecedented action by Pervez Musharraf.

Referring to the law that declares that forced disappearance is an offence warranting capital punishment, she lamented that there was no court that could grant her justice. Depressed, she said, the government should arrest or better bomb the relatives of the missing persons like it was doing with the tribal people to end their sufferings.

Zainab, the mother of Faisal Fraz, 24, said her son who was a class-fellow of Hasan Nawaz Sharif in Aitchison College was missing since July 2005. A widow of a former professor of the college, she said the only sin of her son was that he sported beard and was a regular ‘namazi’.

Working with a private company Faisal was completing documents to send her mother for Hajj. Cursing President Musharraf, she said the day was not far when he too would cry for his near and dear ones.

Ateequr Rehman’s mother said she kept quiet for two years as some agency men said so assuring her that her “abducted” son was alive. But she became desperate when she could not find any clue to him. With the murder of her second son two months ago, she had lost every hope in life and now her only wish was to just hear her son talk once.

One of Ateeq’s five sisters said God had blessed them with two brothers after much supplications and offerings, but one of them was murdered at the age of 19 while the other was missing since his wedding day.

“Each society and every law allows meeting of captives with their relatives. Why are we being denied this right?”

Zafar Jan from Balochistan claimed that 12,000 persons were missing since 2002. The federal minister had admitted the arrest of 7,000 out of them, but without producing anyone in a court of law, he regretted.

A few dozens of them were released through the struggle of their relatives as well as the intervention of the (deposed) chief justice who was now seeking justice for himself, he said. The released captives included as young as nine-year-old Asad Osman who had to bear torture for five months before being released with the help of the deposed CJP, he added.

Claiming that mass graves might be unearthed in Balochistan once the security forces deployed in the province were withdrawn, he said the people there were losing their faith in the country.

Bhajjan Lal said his son Jagdesh Lal, who was a student of computer technology in Karachi, was also missing for the last couple of years. He said he had searched for him in Afghanistan and India as well, but to no avail.

He claimed that some officials took him to Jhang with the promise of recovering his son and there deprived him of Rs500,000.

Muhammad Azam said his son Mustafa Azam was a Cambridge student and went missing on Sept 13, 2006 when he went to bazaar to purchase a CD. He claimed that some contractors, who supply various food items to jails, confirmed that Mustafa was lodged in a Karachi jail.

A couple of prisoners also claimed in their affidavits that the boy had been in their barrack, but his name was not mentioned in the prison record, he bewailed, regretting that the IG prisons was not responding to his repeated queries.

Similar were the narrations of Mrs Dr Abid Sharif, Salman Aziz, Husain Ahmad, Arif Abbasi, Muzammil Shah, Tariq, Hanzala and many others; all claiming that their near and dear ones were not involved even in any minor crime.

“They were picked up just because they were practicing Muslims,” they said.



Updated 20 May, 2022

TTP peace talks

ANOTHER attempt to sue for peace with the outlawed TTP is being made, again facilitated by the Afghan Taliban that...
20 May, 2022

Beyond the law

THE senior judiciary should take care not to overreach in its zeal to ‘fix’ issues it ideally need not worry...
20 May, 2022

Political musical chairs

YET another political crisis is brewing in Balochistan, where old rivals Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Sardar Yar...
Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...