Failure to rescue missing persons irks IHC | The Express Tribune


Expressing extreme displeasure with incidents of enforced disappearances in the federal capital, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has warned that if people lost confidence in the rule of law, the society would plunge into chaos.

Hearing the case of a man, Umar Abdullah, who has been missing for the last five years, IHC judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani noted that the law enforcing and intelligence agencies must present even an alleged terrorist in the court to ensure justice.

“Are we not accountable? How will the present system work? If things continue like this people will set fire to the entire system including the judiciary,” the judge noted.

“If any institution worked in violation of the law then people will pick up arms. All institutions including the judiciary are accountable. If some official is not ready to do his duty then he is not eligible for his post,” Justice Kayani added.

Earlier, the judge issued show cause notices to former secretary defence Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Hussain, former secretary interior Arif Khan and former Islamabad inspector general police Jan Muhammad.

The court asked the former officers to submit their replies in 7 days, warning that whoever is found guilty of negligence in the case will be sentenced to six months in prison. The IHC also ordered the incumbent secretaries of interior and defense to submit reports after implementing court orders.        

In the case of another missing person Imran Khan, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued notice to Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan.

The court noted that if the AGP failed to satisfy the court, it would impose penalties on all people who have served as prime ministers or federal ministers since 2015.

“The security and safety of citizens is the responsibility of the state. An enforced disappearance is a heinous crime which is unacceptable in a society based law and constitution.

“Why shouldn’t we impose a penalty on the prime minister and his cabinet as ultimately they are responsible for it,” Justice Minallah noted.

Addressing himself to the additional attorney general, the judge said: “Don’t say that the state could not do anything in such cases. The state is not only responsible for the safety of its citizens; it is also its duty to rescue the persons who have gone missing.”

Later the court adjourned hearing of the case for three weeks. Imran Khan – a resident of Islamabad – has been missing since May 19, 2015.

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