KARACHI: An annoyed Sindh High Court has warned different ministries that they must implement court orders for the welfare of the families of missing citizens who are allegedly in the custody of law enforcing agencies.
Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah noted that even though the bench had summoned them, no replies were submitted by the ministries of interior, women, youth, inter-provincial coordination.
The judges warned that if a reply was not submitted within two weeks by each ministry, the officers would be held personally liable for violating the orders of the court.
The bench was hearing a constitutional petition filed by Nisar A Mujahid advocate, the chairman of the Human Rights and Civil Liberties Society of Pakistan. The petitioner maintained that once a breadearner of a family goes missing, his family is left penniless and is ignored by society as well as the state which has an obligation under the Constitution to take care of its citizens.
“The children of these men in custody are deprived of an education and other basic rights. Most of these men have committed no crime against the State of Pakistan,” the petitioner maintained.
Also on Thursday, the SHC expressed its concern over the delay by the police in obtaining cell phone data despite the appointment of a focal person to liaise with cellular service provider companies to seek information on phones being used in missing person cases.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam adjourned the hearing of missing person cases till September 27, directing the AIG (Legal) to expedite the process of obtaining the data.
The bench was hearing a petition on a 20-year-old man, who went missing in the limits of Gizri police station on August 7. His mother, Gul Rana, went to court against the Sindh home secretary, Rangers director-general, IG of police, Clifton SHO and SI Ghayyur Shah.
She stated that on August 19, she received a suspicious call from an unknown mobile phone number, which was given to the police authorities, but they had failed to track down the caller. ASI Ghayyur Shah submitted a letter that was written to the higher authorities. AIG Legal Ali Sher Jakhrani assured that they were streamlining the process.
(with additional input from PPI)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2012.