Karachi (September 28, 2017): Sindh High Court has resumed hearing the missing persons case from yesterday. the court is hearing petitions seeks-ing recovery of people gone missing or being informed about their whereabouts.
When the court resumed hearing today it lashed out at the police officials for occupying the seats in the presence of senior citizens who were forced to remain standing because the police officers had occupied most of the seats. We see 70-year-old senior citizens standing and yet the police officers refuse to vacate their seats so that they could sit, the court remarked addressing the SSP SIU Tariq and his other colleagues. The court asked the police officers to leave their seats and asked the senior citizens to sit telling the police officer, “why couldn’t you stand in the court, vacate your seats and give the seats to the elderly.”
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It may be mentioned here that the police personnel have made a habit of ‘reserving’ the seats in advance for their superiors during the hearing of missing persons cases.
It may be mentioned here that yesterday the court expressing anger at the non-recovery of missing persons and the failure to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) a Division Bench of Sindh High Court had directed Home Secretary Sindh and DIG West to appear before it in person today to brief the court over the progress made towards the recovery of the persons gone missing on the next hearing.
The court had also ordered immediate issuance of notification for the appointing of focal person in the missing persons which is under hearing before the two-member bench of the SHC.
The court had also expressed anger over the failure of the police to arrest the suspects nominated in the case pertaining to kidnapping of a citizen. The court ordered the SSP Central to arrest the kidnappers and produce them before the court.
It may be mentioned here that on the 25th of this month the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights had expressed concerns over the continued disappearance of people and had also “asked” the law enforcement agencies to investigate the missing persons case.
The chairman committee Nasreen Jalil had alleged that “The mission persons are not even being presented in courts and [only] their tortured corpses are found later.” Senator Farhatullah Babar of the PPP added that the parliament, Supreme Court and other institutions have failed to resolve the issue. “The people involved in abductions are not punished despite the evidence against them,” he alleged.
The session was attended by officials of the interior ministry, Additional Secretary of the Foreign Office and the chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights, retired justice Ali Nawaz Chohan.
Officials from the Inquiry Commission for Missing Persons, however, did not attend the session.
According to Jalil, the commission has informed the Senate earlier today that its members would not be able to attend to which Babar responded that a notice about the session’s agenda was sent four days ago. The commission should have informed the Senate earlier so the meeting could have been rescheduled.
He criticised the commission’s performance as well, saying that it had failed in dealing with the issue.
The committee responded by saying that the Senate had sent its recommendations to the government in December 2016, yet no debate was held in parliament.
Some Senators also claimed that people had gone missing in a “dramatic fashion” from the NA 120 constituency during by poll. Senator Nisar Muhammad of the PML-N said that there were ‘political reasons’ behind the abduction of people from NA-120.
The Senators also said that the government must look into the Senate’s draft of recommendations regarding the issue.
It may also be mentioned here that on the 14th of this month the division bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto had expressed grave concern over the failure of the provincial and federal authorities in tracking down “missing persons” and observed that it was the prime responsibility of the state to recover them.
During the hearing petitioner Zia Iqbal told the judges that his brother, Azhar Iqbal, moved to Karachi from Sukkur along with his business. He said his brother was whisked away by plainclothes men from outside his residence in Gulshan-i-Kaneez Fatima, a neighbourhood in Scheme 33, in 2011.
DSP Pir Bux Chandio had informed the court that Azhar was kidnapped over personal enmity after which a joint investigation team was constituted, but the kidnapped man’s family did not turn up to record their statement.
During the hearing Justice Phulpoto had remarked that it seemed as if Home Department Sindh was not seriously tracking down the ‘missing persons’.