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Friday January 21, 2022

Missing persons: Premier, cabinet responsible, says IHC

December 02, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday instructed the federal government to satisfy the family of a missing journalist and blogger Mudasir Naro and observed that it is the prime minister and the cabinet that are responsible for the recovery of missing persons, Geo TV reported .

The responsibility of missing persons falls on the shoulders of the prime minister and the cabinet, the court observed. It was noted that perhaps instead of the state, the prime minister and cabinet members should be asked to pay the compensation due so that this matter could be laid to rest once and for all.

The IHC instructed the federal government to satisfy the family of missing journalist and blogger Mudasir Naro. The court also sought opinion from Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari regarding payment of compensation to the victim's family from the pocket of the-then chief executive of the country.

Shireen Mazari, Secretary Interior Naseem Khokhar, lawyer of the concerned family Usman Warraich, Additional Attorney General Qasim Wadood and Deputy Attorney General Syed Tayyab Shah appeared before the bench.

At the outset of hearing, Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the minister that this court had summoned her because of the seriousness of the issue. Disappearance of someone was a criminal act, he said, adding that the cabinet and ministers were here to serve the nation.

Dr Shireen Mazari told the bench that this government had introduced legislation to stop such activities as it was in manifesto of her party. The matter would be sent to upper house soon, she added. She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had very clear stance on the issue.

The chief justice asked that what would be the reaction of the state if a relative of a public office holder went missing. The court observed that it was told that the wife of the missing citizen had died.

The chief justice said all law enforcement agencies were under the control of federal government, adding that it was not a matter of summaries or reports. The court asked the minister that it was the responsibility of the government to look after the children and satisfy the other family members of the missing person. The chief justice asked the minister to take the concerned family to the cabinet and to the prime minister.

The minister said that the prime minister would hear the family but firstly we wanted to complete the process of payment of compensation. She said her government admits the forced disappearance a serious crime.

The court asked that why not the compensation should be paid from the pockets of cabinet members instead of the state. If someone went missing in 2002 then the chief executive of that time should be held responsible, Justice Minallah said, adding that anyone would have to take responsibility of it.

Shireen Mazari said the former governments had taken no steps to stop such practice but the incumbent government was taking measures against forced disappearance. Additional Attorney General requested the court to grant one week more time. At this the court adjourned hearing of the case till December 13.

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