SHC grills interior secretary over missing persons

Seeks comprehensive report by next hearing

Our Correspondent May 28, 2021


The Sindh High Court directed the federal interior secretary on Thursday to submit a comprehensive report on efforts made to recover missing persons.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Abdul Mobeen Lakho, was hearing a set of pleas seeking the recovery of missing persons.

Federal interior secretary, director of human rights, the attorney general of Pakistan, and several others appeared before the court.

The federal interior secretary apologised unconditionally over his failure to appear before the court in previous hearings. He also replied to the show cause notice issued against him.

"Why don't you comply with court orders?" the bench asked the federal interior secretary.

"Here, people are disturbed and look up to the court," Justice KK Agha remarked. "The cases are hit with unnecessary delays due to the non-submission of replies."

"Who runs the internment centres?" the court questioned.

The secretary said that these centres are run by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government. He added that a list of missing persons has been submitted to the apex court.

Read more: PM Imran meets families of missing persons

The bench questioned the government's failure to submit replies if the lists have already been submitted. It said forced disappearance was a grave issue and one that needs to be eradicated.

The attorney general of Pakistan maintained that the federal government was working on humanitarian grounds.

The court directed that all resources must be used to recover missing persons. It ordered the interior secretary to personally appear for the next hearing.

The SHC told the interior secretary to comply with orders and submit a comprehensive report by August 24.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2021.