The Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the federal interior secretary, provincial home ministers, home secretaries and inspectors-general of police to appear in the court in connection with the missing persons’ case on the next date of hearing.
“Enough is enough, the court has passed many orders…it is time to take action. No spy agency is above the law and constitution…action will be taken against them once there are clues that the agencies have kept people in illegal detention,” said Justice Javed Iqbal while heading a three-member bench. There is no option left but to summon the officials and make them suggest a solution, he added.
Justice Raja Fayyaz directed all five inspectors-general of police to appear in court along with detailed records of missing persons.
“Why is the government reluctant to take up this matter in parliament? Why is it afraid of agencies? Are these agencies out of the government’s control?” he remarked.
Additional Attorney-General K K Agha, secretary of the missing person commission, Farid Ahmed Khan along with the families of missing persons appeared before the bench. Relatives of the missing persons told the court that they were tired of receiving mutilated bodies of their loved ones.
They complained that the commission was unable to take effective measures against the secret agencies. “Just five days after we told (members of) the commission about the disappearances of two people, we found their bodies,” relatives said.
Khan assured the court that the commission will go to Balochistan again to review the cases of missing persons.
Justice Iqbal criticised the government for inaction in connection with the recovery of the missing persons. He said it is not in the court’s jurisdiction to order parliament, but the issue should at least be debated in parliament. These are not the fruits of democracy, he said.
K K Agha submitted that action must be taken if anyone violates the law. “The element of foreign intervention in Balochistan can not be ruled out” Justice Iqbal said.
Defence of Human Rights Chairperson Amina Masuad Janjua said that her husband Masood Janjua has not been recovered to date. She said it is astonishing that despite the court’s action people are still being picked up by the agencies. The number of missing persons has risen to 347 from 311, she added.
The court directed Amina Janjua to prepare a fresh list of missing persons. It also ordered the authorities to register FIRs for all missing persons. If that does not happen, action will be taken against the inspector-general of the province concerned, the bench said.
Advocate Ikram Chaudhry also complained about none cooperation from the commission and said people have stopped going to it.
The court also directed the Sindh IG to submit a report regarding the missing workers of MQM on the next date of hearing. The case was adjourned for two weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2011.