The Islamabad High Court, expressing severe annoyance, has held the “chief executives” of the country responsible for enforced disappearances in a case pertaining to missing blogger Mudassar Naaru.
Naaru is said to have gone missing in August of 2018 while he was on vacation in Kaghan with his wife Sadaf Chughtai and their then six-month-old son Sachal. Sadaf was found dead at her Lahore home in May 2021 after campaigning for her husband for three-and-a-half years.
At the hearing on Monday, the Advocate General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed told the court that the PM and ministers felt ashamed after their meeting with Naaru’s family.
“If the state had done its job properly, no one would have been picked up. No enforced disappearance would have been reported,” Justice Minallah remarked. “The chief executives are ultimately responsible for the act.”
But, nowadays, former chief executives nowadays take pride in the practice by writing about it in their books, he pointed out.
The judge wondered if Article-6 could be imposed on all chief executives in the missing persons’ case. The AGP replied that this can’t be implemented on those who were [previously] convicted under the same section.
Justice Minallah suggested that a hall of shame should be created and the names and pictures of all these executives should be placed there. He remarked that, unfortunately, enforcement disappearances are “a stain on Pakistan’s reputation” and “the worst form of corruption”.
AGP Jawed, on the other hand, said that if millions of people take to the streets enforced disappearances would immediately stop. “It happened in Iran as well.”
He added that Pakistan’s geography warrants taking into consideration national security. “People crossing borders by mistake are also included in the list of missing persons.”
The court countered that the prime purpose of national security was safeguarding the citizens.
Justice Minallah asked if the press was given the freedom to freely report on enforced disappearances. “If it was so, pictures of missing person’s families would have been in the paper every day.”
On this, the AGP sought time from the court saying that he had “never contested such a case in his life”.
The judge consequently, adjourned the case till January 18, 2022.