State involved in enforced disappearances, says IHC CJ

Zubair Qureshi

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah has held that it is the state’s responsibility to find out the persons who were forcibly disappeared or it will be assumed that the state was behind these disappearances Chief Justice Minallah made these remarks while hearing petitions seeking the return of journalist Mudassar Naro and other missing people.

CJ Minallah said the Constitution of Pakistan held Prime Minister for such enforced disappearances if he (the PM) was not helpless.

During the hearing, the IHC chief justice stated that police were involved in extrajudicial killings, while the government agencies were blamed for abducting people. “Every day people are being disappeared but no one bothers. If the prime minister is not helpless, then the constitution holds him responsible,” the judge said regretting that the federal government had not taken missing persons’ cases seriously. Chief Justice Minallah remarked that it appeared that the government had failed to act on the government order, directing the government to ensure the implementation of the May 25 court order.

Deputy Attorney General (DAG) presented a notification of the formation of a cabinet committee on missing persons. The DAG told the court that the federal cabinet had formed a committee of ministers to look into the issue of missing people. The chief justice, however, noted that the court had directed the government to recover the missing people in its order.