The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday said if the federal government does not recover five missing persons by September 9, then the prime minister will have to appear before the court in person.
Dawn said while hearing petitions seeking the recovery of missing persons, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah told in case of failure, “the worthy Prime Minister shall appear in person to justify the failure of the state to fulfill its constitutional obligations.”
He said, “the prime minister will also inform the court regarding actions taken against those public functionaries involved in enforced disappearances.
He said the petitions have been pending for a long time, adding that the court “allowed the institutions to demonstrate their commitment to recover or trace the missing citizens.”
He said, “the matter was referred to former prime minister Imran Khan and his cabinet. However, their response was not what ought to have been expected from the chosen representatives.”
Justice Minallah said the decision by the current government to constitute a committee on this issue was “appreciable but not enough.”
IHC summons PM Shehbaz on Sept 9 if missing persons not recovered by next hearing
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He said, “It is indeed the most grave and intolerable form of torture suffered by the persons who have been subjected to enforced disappearances but more so for their loved ones. They are subjected to unimaginable pain and suffering besides violating the inviolability of their dignity.”
The IHC chief justice noted that “the executive has failed to fulfil its obligations to dispel the presumption that enforced disappearance is an undeclared and tacit policy of the state.”
He observed that “the joint investigation team in several cases has declared the untraceable citizens were victims of enforced disappearance.”
Justice Minallah also said that “the prime minister and the cabinet are responsible for recovering the missing persons.” If they fail to do so, the court said, the prime minister shall be summoned to explain the government’s failure.