Additional Secretary Defence told the court that three of 33 detainees were located and had been handed over to their heirs after being freed. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in his order said that missing persons should be presented on Thursday otherwise court would issue its verdict, which can affect the prime minister as well as army chief.
Meanwhile, the court has also summoned IG FC Balochistan on Thursday in missing persons’ case. The court said if IG FC would fail to appear before the court the contempt proceedings would be initiated against him.
A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Amir Hani Muslim, took up the case.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Additional Secretary Defence Major General (retd) Arif Nazeer appeared before the bench and appraised it of current status of the 35 undeclared detainees.
Arif Nazeer told the court that three of the 35 detainees have been located who had been handed over to their heirs after being freed. He said that two others – Sardar Ali and Nadir Khan – died in a detention center of Lakki Marwat in Malakand Division. He said that the bodies of two deceased missing persons have been handed over to the heirs, adding that the heirs refused to conduct the autopsy of deceased persons. He said that the death certificates of the deceased missing persons are also available.
He said that other missing persons were being located by the government. The Additional Secretary Defence sought six to eight more weeks for the federal government’s detailed reply in this regard.
The chief justice asked the additional defence secretary to name the responsible, the court will summon them; upon this the additional defence secretary said he was responsible and the court should take action against him.
Chief justice addressing the additional defence secretary said that his attitude shows highhandedness. Chief justice said that the attitude of the additional secretary is improper and he is forcing the court to take such step which it has been avoiding to take.
Justice Jawwad said that evidences had been found in the past about the involvement of an institution in the missing persons’ matter, but the names were not disclosed in the wake of ‘national security’.
He said that the court gives authority to court for issuing the order over the wrong act, adding that the additional secretary defence is intended to issue order against those people; against whom the court did not take action in the national interest. He said that the names of the missing persons should be informed to the registrar of Supreme Court, adding that the court could not show more leniency on the matter.
Justice Jawwad said that the missing persons were handed over to army on 4th February during the current year, adding that IG prison was appeared after the statement of Ataullah but he did not contradict the matter.
Chief justice said had 30 percent of missing persons been produced, then court could acknowledge that the progress had been made, but recovery of just three persons was like a peanut. He said that the court should not be given lollypop. Chief justice said that the court should be informed in writing that where and when these people were kept, adding that it should also be informed that when these persons were released.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif requested the court to grant more time to the government to resolve the issue. “It’s our policy that we will no more tolerate the extrajudicial abduction of people.
Khawaja Asif said the government should be given more time to locate all missing persons, adding that he has taken up the issue with prime minister and army chief also. He said that the missing persons would be recovered and cases would be initiated against the responsible. Chief justice said that the missing persons should be brought on helicopter, adding that the court has no concern about the prime minister and army chief, adding that no further time would be awarded.
Chief justice said that the court will issue the order and would ensure its implementation. Chief justice said that the names of the responsible whether they are 200 or 500 should be informed the court the court will summon them and would question them. Chief justice said that the court is hearing the case from 5th August, adding that if the court will issue order then it will create problems for the government.
Later on the Attorney General Munir Malik appeared before the court after the expiry of one hour deadline and sought some time for the recovery of the missing persons. Chief justice said the court had granted one day time to Khawaja Asif today we are obliging the Attorney General by awarding two days time.
Chief justice addressing AG said when you will oblige the court. The court in its order said that if progress was made on he matter during two days time then the court could show more leniency in the matter.
Meanwhile, during the missing persons of Balochsitan, the IG FC Major General Ijaz Shahid did not appear before the court instead of summons of Supreme Court. Chief justice said if IG FC would fail to appear before the court then the contempt proceedings would be initiated against him. During the hearing the counsel of FC Major Nadeem presented the enclosed letter but the court refused to receive the letter.
Justice Jawwad Khawaja said that the appearance of IG FC will not decrease his respect. Chief justice said that the respect of the appearance of IG FC will not decrease the respect or IGFC and it will also not affect the morale of the forces or battalion.