IHC orders fixing missing persons cases before division bench

Displeased with Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Duggal's responses during the hearing of cases pertaining to the recovery of journalist Mudassar Naaru and other missing persons on Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) questioned if the AAG was "even qualified to investigate the case". 

The court, led by newly appointed IHC Chief Justice Amir Farooq, ordered to fix the cases of missing persons for hearing before a divisional bench.

During the hearing today, the court maintained that it was unsure whether to "laugh or cry" after the AAG stated that the committee formed to investigate the matter became dysfunctional after previous law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar resigned.

The AAG informed the court that the committee constituted by the cabinet was investigating the matter and held eight meetings with the families of the missing persons.

The AAG's response regarding the committee being inactive came after the court questioned what the committee’s results were now that Tarar had resigned.

The court maintained that the new law minister could have overseen the matter. "Will the committee cease to exist if the government changed tomorrow," Justice Farooq asked. "Should the case also end now that the former chief justice of the IHC has ascended to the Supreme court?" he further stated.

“There are no results, even if there have been efforts,” Justice Farooq remarked.

He stated that if the AAG wants to do nothing then the court should be informed, and the cases would be disposed of.

Read IHC disposes recovery plea after missing person 'returns home'

Advocate Imaan Mazari appeared before the court as counsel for missing journalist Mudassar Naaru's mother. She said the prime minister had appeared before this court and given several assurances. "A report on behalf ot he prime minister was supposed to be submitted to the court today," she stated.

AAG Duggal reiterated that meetings were held with the relatives of the missing persons and that more action had to be taken. He maintained that the committee needed more time.

The court questioned how much more time was needed for these cases, which have already been pending for two years.

Lawyer colonel (retd) Inam-ul-Rahim argued that the AAG had repeatedly asked for additional time, calling on the prime minister to release executive orders regarding the matter. He further added that production orders for 450 people had been issued; they should be followed through.

The court directed the AAG to "not act like the bureaucracy", and asked him to leave the position of power behind and think as a human being about what happens when a family member goes missing.

“It is in the interest of the country that these issues are resolved,” the IHC chief justice said as he questioned the official how they would feel if someone close to them went missing.

“We are human beings first. Lawyer, judge and IG (inspector general) later,” he added.

A father of two missing brothers stated that his sons went missing from outside the International Islamic University Islamabad, and had still not been recovered.

The chief justice questioned what the investigating officer (IO) findings were regarding this case as he expressed indignation at the IO of the Sabzi Mandi police station.

The IHC maintained that it would issue an appropriate order in this regard and adjourned the hearing of the case.

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