- Justice Nisar says he is certain intelligence agencies not behind abductions
- SC orders law enforcers to prioritise recovery of missing persons, constitutes special cell to monitor progress in case
- Grieving family members of missing persons create clamour in courtroom as they plea for recovery of their loved ones
KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday said that he is certain that intelligence agencies are not behind abductions of missing persons.
He said this while hearing a suo motu hearing of the missing person’s case at Supreme Court’s (SC) Karachi Registry.
At the onset of the hearing, the families of missing persons raised a ruckus in the courtroom and despite the CJP’s attempts at silencing them, yelling, screaming and crying rang out in the courtroom.
Police and Rangers contingents were called in to control the chaos.
When the courtroom failed to comply, the CJP quietly got up and left the courtroom without passing any orders.
When Justice Nisar left, the families of the missing persons became incensed and began hurling accusations at each other for disrupting court and causing the judge to leave the courtroom.
“For years, our family members have been missing. We had hope today when we came to court, but because of the noise, the CJP has left,” one of them said. A lady police officer was called in to forcibly remove women from the rostrum.
The CJP called the Sindh IG and Rangers DG into his chamber and then returned to the hearing after a short break.
The CJP said that this sort of behaviour was intolerable, adding that “I am sure the women of my country would not misbehave in a court in this manner.” He called a woman who had been beating the rostrum with her fists back to the dais and asked her to make an unconditional apology. She complied.
“If you had been a man, I would have sent you to jail,” the CJP said to her.
The CJP in his remarks censured the petitioners saying, “I left for Karachi at 2am for you but you people have shown contempt for the court. How did you dare to lift a finger at a police officer?” he asked.
The petitioners’ lawyers also apologised to the CJP.
He received the families’ requests regarding the missing persons and ordered action on all petitions.
Justice Nisar then directed law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to prioritise the recovery of missing persons and constituted a special cell to monitor the progress, and to brief the SC Human Rights Cell on the matter.
The apex court accepted applications submitted by families of missing persons and ordered LEAs to keep SC human rights cell in the loop during investigations.
“I am saddened by the missing persons’ issue,” the CJP told Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Amjad Javed and provincial heads of intelligence agencies who appeared at the top court’s Karachi Registry for the hearing of the case.
The families of the missing said that their loved ones had been missing for a long time, without even their bodies being found. One of the petitioners, Neelum, said her father had been missing for 14 months.
The CJP ordered the Sindh IG and other officials to conduct a probe into her father’s disappearance and to submit a report on the matter.
Justice Nisar remarked, “Not only the youth but even men as old as 57 years are missing.”
“I have also said this before, missing persons should be recovered,” the CJP told the Sindh IGP and the provincial heads of intelligence agencies.
He further said, “If anyone’s loved ones have been killed then they should also be informed. At least they will get some peace.”
During the hearing, Justice Nisar asked the relatives of the missing persons to come forward.
The judicial staff accepted their petitions relating to the missing persons after which the chief justice ordered action on them.
There was tight security in and around the court premises, where the CJP was due at noon and Rangers Director General Muhammad Saeed, Sindh Inspector General Amjad Saleemi, provincial interior secretary and intelligence officials were to furnish their responses after the top judge took notice a day earlier of the non-recovery of missing persons in Sindh.
The road in front of the SC was blocked off to traffic, and the family members of missing persons, who were carrying placards and photos of their loved ones, were held back by a security cordon.
As they spoke to the media outside the court, tearful family members appealed to the CJP to help ensure the recovery of their missing children, fathers and brothers. “We’ve knocked on every door seeking justice,” they lamented. “Where else should we go?”
“We have no hope from security institutions,” they said, asking law enforcers to check CCTV footage to find out who had picked up their loved ones.
“Our children have been missing for years, we have no information about them. If our children are dead, we should be told,” they demanded.
Rights activist and election candidate Jibran Nasir, speaking to reporters at the scene, said it appeared as though the country was someone’s kingdom. “People are being prevented from reaching the Supreme Court. You can’t even say anything to institutions because then your patriotism is questioned.”
“Extrajudicial encounters are becoming common in Sindh. If this continues to happen without justice being served, the situation will deteriorate,” he said.