Islamabad [Pakistan], May 26 (ANI): Due to an unabating surge in Pakistan’s enforced disappearances, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday asked the interior secretary to explain why proceedings should not be initiated against the present and previous chief executives and interior ministers for not safeguarding the liberty of citizens.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah instructed the government to produce five missing persons or else the court would summon the incumbent and former interior ministers, as the enforced disappearance was a violation of the Constitution, Dawn reported.
The court also questioned the interior secretary whether the former and incumbent presidents and governors sought annual reports on enforced disappearances.
According to a report prepared by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances and submitted by the commission’s registrar to the IHC, only 3,284 or one-third of 8,463 missing citizens have returned home since March 2011 after their whereabouts were traced.
Besides, it said, 228 people were “reported to be dead in encounters, etc” and the “concerned police lodged FIRs on behalf of the state and law takes its own course”.
According to Dawn, 946 people were “reported to be confined in internment centres under Action (in Aid of Civil Powers) Regulations, 2011 whereas 584 people were reported to have been confined in jails as under trial prisoners on criminal and terrorism charges.
The report also noted that 1,178 cases had been found as “not of enforced disappearances” after a thorough investigation, because in these cases “missing persons have either gone on their own” or these cases related to “kidnapping for ransom or personal enmity”.
Justice Minallah observed that since a former chief executive in his book “In the Line of Fire” had termed enforced disappearances a state policy, the government was required to dispel this impression, reported The Dawn.
Enforced disappearances are used as a tool by Pakistani authorities to terrorize people who question the all-powerful army establishment of the country, or seek individual or social rights.
Cases of enforced disappearances have been majorly recorded in the Balochistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces of the country which host active separatist movements.
Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned till June 17. (ANI)