AGP guarantees return of all missing persons

Tells IHC issue of enforced disappearances requires political solution

Fiaz Mahmood May 28, 2024
The missing persons were whisked away during midnight raids on May 24 from their homes located in different areas of Badin. PHOTO: FILE



The state’s top law officer has assured the capital’s high court that all people who have allegedly been forcibly disappeared will return to their homes.

According to a written order issued by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in connection with a case related to missing Baloch students, Attorney-General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan undertook on behalf of the state and the law enforcement agencies that every missing person will be reunited with their family.

“He further contends that the ministerial committee on enforced disappearances has prepared its recommendations and a summary will be placed in the next cabinet committee meeting to resolve the issue, which requires a political solution,” it added.

The counsel for the petitioner, Imaan Mazari, while referring to paragraph 28 of a report by the Commission on Enforced Disappearances, highlighted that certain issues are overlapping with the constitution of different committees but results are not achieved.

She also referred to the case of Feroz Ahmed, whose father, Noor Bakhsh, appeared in court and highlighted the agony and mental torture suffered by him and other family members since 2022 when his son, a student of 17 years of age, disappeared from Rawalpindi.

Imaan also referred to the case of Naeem, son of Rehmat, who, according to the information given by the AGP, was allegedly serving a sentence at Karachi’s Central Prison, but after verification, it transpired that the Naeem, son of Rehmat, in Karachi was a different person.

She also highlighted noncompliance with paragraph 5 of the last order, which referred to the case of Sohail Ahmed. The AGP contended that there was some delay on the part of his office in compliance with the order.

He once again requested Imaan to hand over the details of the persons, which she provided.

The petitioner’s counsel expressed hope that proper details about the whereabouts of three missing persons would be provided at the next hearing.

According to the order, the AGP also pointed out that the court has constituted a three-member committee comprising the director generals of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Military Intelligence (MI), but there are certain administrative difficulties in coordination as highlighted by the IB chief.

He said the IB director general has requested that a joint director general may be appointed as convener and permission may be granted to co-opt members of other law enforcement agencies for the identification and recovery of the missing persons.

“In view of the request made by the AGP, the order dated 19.02.2024 is amended to the extent that all the law enforcement agencies, including the ISI, the MI, and the IB, can involve their second-highest level officials for achieving the mandate highlighted in the commission’s report. Pursuant to the order of this court, any other official of the CTD [counter-terrorism department] and the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] may also be co-opted in this regard, if so desired by the committee.”

The AGP contended that he has now taken certain measures to settle this long-standing issue with the highest offices. He assured the court that the recommendations given by the cabinet on the ministerial committee on enforced disappearances will be shared with this court, which would be considered as a way forward in the future.

The court later adjourned till June 14.


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