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Missing persons' case: Court to ask PM, KP CM, not the army: SC

21 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court's senior judge Justice Jawwad S Khawaja has remarked that one thing was very clear that the army had taken away the missing persons and the court had to ask from the prime minister and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, not the army, in this matter as the army was working under the Federation.

A bench of the apex court took up the non-implementation of court's orders on the recovery of 35 missing persons case for hearing on Monday.

Justice Khawaja further remarked: "We will initiate contempt of court proceedings against the responsible persons on non-implementation of court's orders. Situation is very clear. The government does not want to implement the court's orders. We will not summon the army, and the federal government will have to give reply on this count."

He further remarked: "We have no gun or stick, but law and the Constitution is with us. Neither the government and nor any of its institutions are ready to investigate missing persons matter."

He observed: "Are we living in jungle? Is it not an Islamic state that a father died under grief of his missing son and mother is about to die. If someone thinks that that matters will continue to run this way, he is under a big delusion. We will not allow any more time as extra six months have been spent in this case. The government should not turn a blind eye to this matter. The government has completely failed in the protection of human rights. Certain institutions consider them above law and the Constitution."

He further observed: "The government should tell us if law is merely a book. The government is delaying the matters deliberately."At the inception of hearing of the case Attorney General (AG) Suleman Aslam Butt appeared in the court.

Justice Khawaja remarked: "What has been done about missing persons, we cannot say it is okay. This is only one case while there are other cases as well. No headway is being made from the government side."

The AG said only seven out of 35 persons have been recovered so far. The army has picked up these persons. It has also been asked that action be taken against the persons found responsible.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked: "What you have to say about court's orders."The AG told the court that the Defence Ministry has filed review petition on court's decision. Complete details have been given about 35 persons.

Justice Khawaja remarked: "It has been said about fifteen persons that they don't know about them. Some are in Afghanistan. We have seen this all."The AG said: "We are ready to give an in-camera briefing with reference to these people. Search is underway in respect of seven persons."

The SC judge remarked: "This matter is running since long. The government is spoiling the matters on its own. Had the government been active we would have said that difficulties are there. What should have been done is not being done. Some things have come to light. We will issue orders on it. Fourteen out of thirty-five persons have been recovered. Where the remaining have gone? The family members of these person remain present in the court on every occasion. Mohabbat Shah, father of Yasin Shah, has been coming to the court on every hearing. Tell us if they are not citizens. Are these second-rated citizens? We will ask its justification from you. These persons have been picked up from Malakand."

He further remarked: "The government has failed in the protection of human rights. We have not to go to Fata or Pata. It is job of the government. The court understands the sensitivity of the matter and is exercising restraint. The government of Punjab said that notice has been issued to them erroneously."

The court remarked: "If someone thinks that the matters will continue to run this way then one is under some delusion. We have powers and we will exercise them at every cost."

Justice Khawaja further remarked: "Only one way is left with us for implementation of orders. We have to ask from the prime minister and chief minister and not from the army that where these persons have gone. Your citizens have gone missing. Has anyone conducted some investigation? Has the law been implemented? Has action been taken against some one or otherwise?

The court remarked: "We will not allow any one to usurp the rights of anyone. We had asked the federal and provincial governments to take action. A law is there on non compliance of court's orders. The government has made so much clear that it does not want to do anything. We will do whatever law allows us."

The attorney general said: "We will see the matter with all sincerity. We have sought reply from the KP government."

The court, while seeking reply from the AG, Defence Ministry, secretary to the prime minister and secretary to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister on the implementation of court's order with respect to recovery of missing person and action against the responsible persons, adjourned the bearing till January 22.

End.

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