Pakistan supreme court to decide on missing persons case in two weeks

11:19, February 12, 2010      

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday ruled that it would decide on the missing person's case within two weeks and would order strict action against the people responsible for detaining the missing persons.

The court further ruled that the government has no option except implementation of court's order in letter and spirit.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Javed Iqbal was hearing petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and former Pakistan People's Party Senator Farhatullah Babar.

The missing people are allegedly to have been taken by Pakistani intelligence agencies for interrogation over alleged link to Balochistan separatists and other militant groups in the country, local media said.

Their relatives claimed they were picked up by intelligence agencies but never brought before the court.

Pakistani Ministry of Interior presented a report before the court stating that there were 965 people went missing in the country.

The court however expressed dissatisfaction over the report terming it as vague and directed to expedite the process of tracing the whereabouts of missing persons.

Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan told the court that the government was considering formation of a judicial commission for tracing the whereabouts of missing persons.

Justice Javed Iqbal however observed that from 1947, 31 commissions have so far been set up, but not even a single body can be termed satisfactory except the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report of 1972.

The court directed Ministry of Foreign Affairs to submit report regarding the details of Pakistani nationals imprisoned in Afghanistan.

Additional Home Secretary of Punjab province told the court that out of 42 cases, 26 have been registered of which six missing persons have been traced out while one has been dead. Similarly, the court was informed that addresses of six missing persons were found incomplete.

The court warned that relatives of missing persons should not face any sort of difficulties while filing FIRs for their near and dear ones.

The court further warned that the concerned Home Secretaries and police officials would be held responsible in this regard.

Additional Home Secretary of Sindh province informed the court that out of nine cases of missing persons, six cases have been filed of which one missing person has been traced out while investigation was underway for two persons.

Regarding the missing persons of Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the court was informed that out of 21 missing persons, cases of 19 missing person have been registered.

Meanwhile the court directed the government to expedite the process of tracing out whereabouts of the missing persons and submit report before the court on the next date of hearing.

According to the government's finding presented before the court last week, about 1,600 persons went missing till 2008. Of these 1,300 went missing after the killing of Baloch separatist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006 and after the military operation launched against Lal Masjid (red mosque) in Islamabad in 2007.

The list of HRCP, prepared in 2007, indicated that there were 198 people missing of which 99 were traced out while 99 were still missing.

Source: Xinhua
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