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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances to submit a comprehensive report on the missing persons’ cases it received and disposed of.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa said peaceful protest is the fundamental right of every citizen, adding the Court does not want tactics be employed by the government to deprive them of their rights.

He also said that the citizens’ this right not be curtailed by the courts as well, unless the protesters are involved in violent unlawful activities.

Justice Faez was heading a three-judge bench, which also comprised Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Mussarat Hilali, that heard the petitions of former Senator Pakistan People’s Party Aitzaz Ahsan, Human Rights activist Amina Masood and others regarding enforced disappearances.

The chief justice told the Registrar of the Commission that they do not only want the number of missing persons, we want each person’s name, his father’s name, and how long he has been missing.

Amina Masood informed that her husband Masood Janjua disappeared on 30-07-2005 when he was travelling from Rawalpindi to Peshawar. She further said that her father-in-law, who was a retired Colonel had discussed the matter with former army chief Pervez Musharraf and the then DG ISI, but they had apprised him that the institution had nothing to do with Masood’s disappearance.

Amina also informed that she had approached the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, which was notified by the federal government in 2010, but was not satisfied with the Commission’s performance.

“I just want to know the truth for myself, for my children that what happened [to my husband],” Janjua said. Upon being inquired who should be approached for these answers, she said the military and the army chief should be questioned.

The CJP directed the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan to present a report on the matter. “I don’t see why this government or those in charge of various institutions would want to assume responsibility if someone else earlier had done something illegal. There is every reason that if they have some information, they will tell you,” the judge remarked.

Justice Faez added that the concerned ministries in the matter would be the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence.

The Commission of Inquiry is headed by Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal and comprises Justice (retired) Amaullah Khan Zai from Balochistan, Justice (retired) Zia Pervez from Sindh and Mohammad Sharif Virk, a retired police officer.

Khalid Naeem, registrar Commission said that the Commission has done considerable work and due to its efforts a number of missing persons have been traced. He submitted that the Commission has disposed of 7,001 cases so far. He stated if a member of the Commission is a retired judge of the Supreme Court then he gets a salary package similar to that of a SC judge, but a member is retired judge of High Court then his salary is equal to a High Court judge. The bench noted that this in addition to their pension.

Aitzaz Ahsan suggested the Commission on Missing Persons be reconstituted and a serving judge of the Supreme Court should be its head. He requested the bench to direct the Commission to provide the details of expenses incurred so far and the output of the Commission.

Justice Mazhar noted that the Commission was initially constituted for six months, but it is still functioning.

During the proceeding, Shoaib Shaheen, representing Aitzaz Ahsan, informed that anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan had contacted him yesterday and said that he was willing to appear before the apex court and tell in detail about his abduction if the Court provided him security.

At that, the chief justice told him that Absar Alam picked up courage and in Faizabad dharna case appeared before the Court and gave a statement. He said that the apex court does not have force, and if he wants to give a statement they would not stop him. “Please don’t start pleading cases of powerful people who are well-settled and have all the resources in the world and when they want they can come to court. And when they don’t want they don’t come to court. Don’t become their spokesperson,” the CJP lamented, adding that the PTI lawyer was making the case, political.

The case was adjourned for two weeks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Parvez Jan 04, 2024 03:48pm
What little I have seen of the SC proceedings I get the distinct impression that our CJ loves to listen to his own voice.....I always thought justices listened and at times asked pertinent questions.....and actually spoke through their judgements.
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