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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the interior minister to probe into the grievances of Balochistan students regarding racial profiling and harassment, and submit a report.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Friday issued the directions, while hearing a petition seeking recovery of a missing person, Hafeez Baloch, a student of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

During the hearing, the court was informed that students had met the minister for interior and a report was also submitted before the bench. However, the counsels for the petitioners asserted that the meeting was not fruitful because the minister for interior informed them that he may not be holding his office by next week.

The IHC bench observed, “Such a response was definitely not expected from a chosen representative holding one of the most important public offices. The Federal Government has, regrettably, ignored the serious grievances of the students and the Minister for Interior was expected not only to hear the students but take prompt action in order to ensure that there is no harassment or feeling of racial profiling in future.”

The bench; therefore, directed the minister for interior to probe into the grievances submitted by the students belonging to the province of Balochistan and submit a report, inter alia, highlighting the actions taken to dispel the perception of racial profiling.

The chief justice noted that the grievances of the petitioners are grave in nature and the Chancellor of the Quaid-i-Azam University i.e. the worthy President of Pakistan is, therefore, expected to ensure that the grave grievances of the students belonging to Balochistan, particularly, in the context of racial profiling and harassment are probed.

“The Vice Chancellor of the Quaid-i-Azam University is also directed to submit a report, inter alia, explaining why students of Balochistan feel that they have been subjected to racial profiling. The Court expects that a report on behalf of the Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University i.e. the worthy President of Pakistan will be submitted before the date fixed,” said Justice Minallah.

Later, the bench deferred the hearing until April 8.

Previously, the IHC bench had stated in its written order, “The Minister for Interior is, therefore, directed to meet the aggrieved students from Balochistan tomorrow i.e. 31-03-2022 and hear their grievances.”

It further said, “A report is directed to be submitted on the date fixed. In case there is refusal to comply with this order, then the Court will consider to summon the Minister for Interior because the grievances brought to the attention of the Court are of grave nature.”

The IHC chief justice noted that students, particularly belonging to the province of Balochistan need special attention by the Federal Government and they have a right to be heard. “It is regretted that the conduct of the public functionaries has not been found to be in conformity with their constitutional obligations towards the citizens, particularly the students. The State through the public functionaries has to demonstrably show empathy towards the young students, in this case students belonging to the province of Balochistan,” said Justice Minallah.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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