Pakistan News

Missing Persons’ Cases: Special SC bench to oversee missing persons’ cases

ISLAMABAD: A heartfelt request from a mother moved the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to change his mind and constitute a two-member special bench to supervise proceedings of the inquiry commission on enforced disappearances and to hear longstanding cases of missing persons.


Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, who have expertise in criminal laws, will be part of the special bench, which will review the performance of the inquiry commission on monthly basis.


At the onset of the hearing of the missing persons’ case on Wednesday, Justice Saqib Nisar, the CJP, hinted at referring all the missing persons’ cases to the inquiry commission for making the proceedings effective.


He also referred to a meeting, chaired by him and attended by Chairman Javed Iqbal of the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances, the secretaries of the ministries of defence and interior as well as the heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).


He said during the meeting, it was decided that representatives of the intelligence agencies in the commission would be of brigadier’s rank or above and senior police officers would represent their respective departments.


“I gave a clear message to all participants to make the commission’s proceedings effective and you people are well aware how I communicate the message,” the CJP told the heirs of the missing persons.


However, a mother, whose son Mudhasir Iqbal has been missing for nine years, shared her grief with the bench. She said she came from Lahore to attend the court’s proceedings with a hope that the judges would recover her son even though she could not bear the travel expenses.


“You are the last court in this world. If my son is involved in any crime then punish him,” the mother said, adding that despite the production order by the commission, her son was not produced.


The bench was informed that the commission issues production order after it is established that someone is under the custody of agencies. The CJP asked why Mudhasir was not produced. The bench later decided to form a special bench for the satisfaction of the missing persons’ heirs.


Amina Masood Janjua, the representative of the missing persons, told the bench that the United Nations had taken notice of Mudhasir’s disappearance – a fact that might be embarrassing for the country.


Janjua also expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the commission, claiming that the number of missing persons had increased.


She requested the apex court to look into the longstanding cases in which the commission was unable to get fruitful result. She said the commission was not taking up the Swat missing persons’ cases.


When Janjua referred to the case of her husband Masood Janjua, the CJP noted that the evidence seemed to suggest that her husband was probably not alive.


However, he told Mudhasir’s mother that if he were sure about the place of her son’s detention then he would himself go to recover him.


The CJP, who was visibly sad on hearing the miseries of the mother, said he would himself head the special bench to take up such chronic cases, if needed. He said the issue would be dealt with at three forums – the special bench, the commission and a high-powered committee chaired by him.


He, however, said the agencies would be inquired about their failure to produce the missing persons despite issuance of production order by the commission. Meeting of the high-powered committee will also be convened soon.


Janjua, meanwhile, requested the bench to allow her to attend the meeting. The CJP accepted her plea, saying she along with two to three representatives of the missing persons might join the meeting briefly to convey their viewpoints.


Janjua, Tariq Asad advocate, Inamur Rahiem, who were representing the missing persons, appreciated the chief justice’s efforts for the resolution of the issue. “We are very hopeful that the missing persons’ issue will be resolved during your tenure,” Janjua said to the CJP.


No representative of the missing persons from Balochistan attended the court proceedings.


According to the commission’s report, 1,830 cases were pending with the commission till August 31. Since the establishment of the commission, 5,290 cases have been received, 59 of which were filed last month.

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