Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Friday criticized the Pakistan government’s apathy over missing persons cases and said that the government should resign if subordinate institutions are not under control.
During the case hearing earlier today, CJ Minallah stated that “it [missing persons] is a serious issue” as he explained why the PM had been called to the court, reported The Express Tribune.
“The matter has been pending in court for several months now,” he added as he expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s inaction on the issue, reported The Express Tribune.
The court said that as the chief executive the responsibility to address enforced disappearances lies with him.
Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif, who appeared before the court said that he cannot “promise all missing persons will return but will leave no stone unturned.”
The prime minister said that he had met with the families of the missing persons as he reminisced on one child in particular that had appealed to him to recover his father.
Acknowledging the committee formed by PM Sharif and his efforts, the court went on to express deep concern saying “this is not an issue for a committee”.
“No issue is larger than this one before the court,” remarked the judge confessing that the Baloch students’ issues were “most disturbing” and that enforced disappearances were a matter of going against the constitution.
The court also regretted the impression that state agencies were involved in the disappearances.
Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing of the missing persons’ cases till November 14.
Families and activists have described being harassed, arbitrarily arrested and detained, and subject to violence for simply exercising their right to peaceful protest – a right protected by international human rights law and domestic law.
Enforced disappearance is a violation of international human rights law and a crime under international law. It also violates the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.