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Someone else to be summoned if missing persons not presented: CJ Iftikhar

06 December, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday remarked if missing persons were not presented in the Supreme Court today (Friday), 'some other person' would be summoned to the court.

He made these remarks while heading a three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Ameer Hani Muslim which heard the missing persons' case.

Facing immense pressure on the issue of missing persons, the government on Thursday assured the Supreme Court that not all but many of the remaining 30 missing persons would be produced before the court today (Friday) by 10.30am.

In compliance with the court's mid-day order in the instant matter, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif along with Acting Secretary Defence Major General (retd) Arif Nazir and Attorney General Munir A Malik appeared before the court and submitted that they would bring not all but many of the missing persons to court by today (Friday) at 10.30am.

"Your lordship will hear good news today (Friday) as we are making arrangements for producing many of the missing persons before the court," Khawaja Asif said.

Earlier, during the hearing when the defence minister was stressing the need for more time to comply with the court's order for producing the missing persons, the chief justice asked him if from day one he had no respect for the court.

Khawaja Asif, however, contended that the missing persons were not in the government's custody and they were making efforts to locate them. "Your non-cooperation is not good," the chief justice told Khawaja Asif.

Meanwhile, during the hearing an official of the Attorney General's office presented a chit and told the court that there was a call from the prime minister for the defence minister. The chief justice asked Khawaja Asif to attend the call, adding that he should also talk to the prime minister on the missing persons' issue.

After a short while, the defenceMinister Khawaja Asif came back to the courtroom and submitted that they would give good news to the court today (Friday) as they would be producing not all but many of the missing persons before the court.

He told the court that they would give good news to SC registrar on Friday regarding the missing persons. The chief justice however, asked Khawaja Asif why to Registrar, he should give them the news.

Khawaja Asif said that they would inform about not all but many of the missing persons by today (Friday)."I was of the view that by involving you, the matter would be resolved but now you are saying that not all but many of the missing persons would be brought before the court", the chief justice asked Khawaja Asif.

"Charge them if they are criminals", the chief justice further told Khawaja Asif. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja while addressing Khawaja Asif said that the matter involved a fundamental issue which must be recognised.

"We have some credible evidence that show that some state actors are involved in the instant matter and if somebody says that the Constitution does not apply on them than the common people would also not abide by the Constitution," Justice Jawwad observed.

Khawaja Asif said that still they had not reached the destination but believed on the principles that nobody was above the law. The chief justice however said that the court had shown a lot of restraint and latitude but no further concession would be given in the instant matter.

"We cannot wait more so he should bring all the 30 missing persons," the chief justice asked Khawaja Asif.Earlier, during the hearing Khawaja Asif presented before the court some confidential documents in the instant matter however, the court refused to accept them and returned to defence minister asking him to ensure production of all the missing persons.

Khawaja Asif also apprised the court that the status of 5-7 persons was known but information could not be exchanged in public due to its crucial nature and requested that an in-camera briefing be held to the sensitive nature of the case. The chief justice however, asked the minister to first produce the 30 missing persons and then an in-camera briefing would be held in judges' chamber.

During the day-long proceedings, attorney general sought more time for ascertaining as to whether the missing persons were released or in the custody of the government. "Your lordship knows well how the machinery works and how the system operates," AG told the court.

In another case relating to law and order situation in Balochistan and missing persons' case, the court issued contempt of court notice to IG Frontier Corps (IGFC) Balochistan Major General Ejaz Shahid on failing to appear in the court despite repeated notices served to him.

End.

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