Mar 19, 2010

Balochistan: Govt to form commission on missing persons

Active ImageThe Supreme Court on Thursday was informed that the government has decided to establish judicial commission to address the grievances of missing persons.



Below is an article published by The Daily Mail:

The Supreme Court on Thursday was informed that the government has decided to establish judicial commission to address the grievances of missing persons. A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Tariq Parvez resumed hearing in missing persons cases.  The foreign office presented the report before the court stating that about 6,000 Pakistanis held overseas. The Supreme Court also directed Chief Commissioner and Inspector General Police Islamabad to appear on April 5 and apprise it over the number of deaths in Lal mosque case.

The bench observed that it would herd the Lal mosque case separately from missing persons issue. Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan apprised the court that that all the concerned ministries would be called and accountable to the proposed judicial commission on missing persons.

He said that the commission would comprise of a retired judge of Supreme Court along with two other retired judges of high courts. He said that the commission will be announced after finalizing names of judges.

Justice Muhammad Sair Ali observed during the hearing that formation of commission would share the burden of the apex court. “It is our duty to serve the nation”, he emarked. Justice Javed Iqbal, remarked that basic problem is that there are different stake holders in the case who are not performing their functions efficiently. “Government could have taken the issue of missing persons seriously”, he said. He observed the suo moto of missing people was taken during dictatorship. During the hearing Justice Javed Iqbal deplored that the number of missing persons is increasing instead of reducing, saying that the situation is alarming.

Justice Javed Iqbal said in his remarks that the government should change current laws about arrest of people if they are not sufficient. He said that action will be taken against those responsible individually or collectively with reference to missing people. Justice Javed Iqbal said that about 237 persons had been traced since judicial proceedings started.

He warned that the court would not allow any body to take political advantage from the case. “Majority of missing people hails from Balochistan”, observed the judge. He ordered IG Balochistan to register an FIR of missing people and said that if his orders were violated then action will be taken against him.

Chairman Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Asma Jehangir presented a list of missing persons saying that according to their list 51 people have been still missing. She said that out of 51 missing people 27 are from Balochistan, 7 from NWFP, 7 from Sindh and 10 from Punjab. She termed the proposal for commission as a substantial one.

Asma Jehangir prayed the court to order the government to inform the HRCP about the laws under which intelligence agencies are working and to whom they are accountable. “If the commission would be formed your prayer would be answered”, Justice Javed said. Justice Javed Iqbal remarked that he wanted to give verdict; however, he added that the judicial commission should be given more time. Amna Masood Janjua of Defence for Human Rights opposed the proposal for commission saying that the Supreme Court was the only hope for them.

Justice Javed Iqbal said all records with different departments over the missing persons cases would be submitted with the commission.