Missing persons: SC orders action against agencies
ISLAMABAD, June 20: The Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday recovery of 93 people still missing in Balochistan and action against law-enforcement agencies involved in enforced disappearances in the province.
In an interim order, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawad S. Khwaja said enforced disappearances should be immediately stopped and action taken against culprits.
The court is hearing a petition on the law and order situation and human rights violations in Balochistan.
The court directed security agencies to produce the missing persons at the next hearing to be held at the Quetta registry of Supreme Court on July 9. “Individuals involved in anti-state activities should be formally arrested,” it said.
The court ordered the authorities concerned to formulate a policy for payment of compensation to families of the victims of enforced disappearances and human rights violations in Balochistan.
The bench summoned Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi and asked her to ensure the implementation of its orders.
“Protecting people and their property is responsibility of the state. The agencies’ helplessness in recovering the missing persons is beyond our understanding,” the court regretted. Attorney General Irfan Qadir submitted a report of a high-powered commission on Balochistan.
According to the report, the commission is working on 43 cases of missing persons. It said the names of 29 of the 118 people had been added twice to the list of missing persons. The bodies of nine missing persons were recovered and 16 were found alive.
Another 17 people, the report said, there were only allegations that they had been missing. It said that some elements were trying to benefit from the situation in Balochistan. A joint team was set up to recover the missing persons but it made no headway.
When the court objected to the formation of the high-powered commission, the attorney general said it had been constituted by the federal government on the orders of the Supreme Court and its report had been prepared by the Punjab IG.
“How can someone who was not posted in Balochistan prepare a report on it?” Justice Khwaja asked.
Noting that Balochistan police could not enter the cantonment areas without a permit, the chief justice asked who would cooperate with a powerless probe commission.
At the previous hearing, the bench had expressed displeasure over a press conference held by Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj-Gen Ubaidullah Khan Khattak and said it would summon Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on the matter.
The FC chief had held the press conference shortly after appearing before the apex court and said 20 foreign intelligence agencies were active in the province. He also said that a campaign had been launched against the paramilitary force.