Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked on Wednesday that if a person goes missing, it is a crime against humanity and the responsibility for this lies with the prime minister and the federal cabinet.
The CJ expressed disappointment at the response of the state to the cases of missing persons. He remarked that the fact that the state was accused of abducting its citizens amounted to a ‘serious crime’.
The CJ made these remarks while hearing a petition regarding the disappearance of journalist Mudassar Naaru who has been missing for more than three years.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, who was summoned by the court, was also present at the hearing. The CJ told the minister that she had been summoned because the state’s response to the issue of missing persons was non-existent.
Justice Minallah went on to say that the state needs to satisfy the family of the missing person, adding that as all the agencies were under the control of the federal government there is no reason to ‘make excuses’. The minister responded that the missing persons issue was a priority of the government as it was one of the promises made by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in its manifesto.
She briefed the court legislation in this regard had been enacted and would soon be presented in the upper house of the parliament.
The CJ ordered the minister to make sure that that the family of the missing journalist has a meeting with the prime minister before the next hearing which will be held on December 13.