The Islamabad High Court (IHC) stated on Wednesday that the responsibility for the disappearance of citizens in Pakistan is rested on PM Imran Khan and his government.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, during the hearing of a case concerning the disappearance of journalist Mudassar Naaru, stated that it’s state’s responsibility to protect the lives of citizens.
Justice Minallah further stated that the families of the missing persons were protesting on roads for years, but state’s response in this regard was unfortunate, while adding that “Like a mother, the state should treat the family of the missing person.”
Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also appeared before the IHC bench. Justice Minallah while addressing Mazari said that the state showed no concern for the recovery of the missing journalist.
As a response, Mazari stated that the government considered enforced disappearances a serious crime and nobody was allowed to indulge in this heinous practice. She went on to add that she was in touch with various authorities for the recovery of Naaru.
Mazari further stated that the PM along with human rights activist Amna Janjua had protested against enforced disappearances in the past, while adding that the government was working on compensation for the family of the missing person on a monthly basis.
“The PM will definitely listen to Naaru’s family, but first we want to process the payment of expenses for them which will be done by next week,” stated Mazari while revealing that the affidavit had not been received yet, according to which the payment needed to be processed.
Justice Minallah stated that “if someone went missing in 2002 then why not impose fines on those responsible then, the then chief executive,” he said, adding that someone should be held responsible for the practice of enforced disappearances.
“Half of our lives have been spent in undemocratic regimes and this is their doing,” he added. At present, everyone, including the police and ministries, has gotten a free hand,” he said, adding that he was also talking about the state and the non-state actors.
Justice Minallah further said that the matter must be taken to the Prime Minister and a meeting with the cabinet members should be arranged, while adding that the PM along with the cabinet members should pay the compensation to the missing person’s family instead of the state so that the issue could be concluded once and for all.
Justice Minallah concluded by stating that “It doesn’t matter if allegations [against the state] are true or false, the family has been going door-to-door for three years now and this should stop right away.”
It is pertinent to note that the court has given directive to the government to satisfy Mudassar Naaru’s family by the next hearing and ordered Mazari to submit a reply at the next hearing, which is scheduled to be held on December 13.