IHC CJ says PM, cabinet responsible for recovery of missing persons

Observer Report

The Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked on Wednesday that the responsibility of missing persons falls on the prime minister and members of the federal cabinet.

Justice Minallah made the remarks while hearing a petition filed by Rana Mehmood Ikram, father of journalist Mudassar Mehmood, who had reportedly gone missing on August 19, 2018. Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari and Interior Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar appeared for the hearing. Additional attorney general Qasim Wadud and deputy attorney general Syed Tayyab Shah were also present in the courtroom.

Advocate Usman Warraich appeared on behalf of the missing journalist’s father. However, Advocate Imaan Mazari was not present as she was unwell.

Justice Minallah told the minister that she had been summoned because the state was not “visible” in tackling the issue of enforced disappearances.

“A person going missing is a crime against humanity. The prime minister and members of the cabinet are there to serve the people of the country. The state’s response towards recovering missing persons is pathetic,” he remarked.

Justice Minallah said that if a person comes to court stating that a loved one has disappeared, it means that the state has failed. He remarked that the state being accused of kidnapping a citizen was a “serious crime”.

He stated that if a public office holder’s loved one disappears, the entire state machinery would be mobilised.

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