ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday has sought a comprehensive report from the Inquiry Commission regarding the progress in missing persons’ cases.
The court also directed the Commission to accelerate its work regarding the investigation into cases of disappeared persons and give its timetable for hearing of these cases.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and comprising of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Amir Hani Muslim, ordered Pakistan Baitul Maal to submit report regarding the compensation, which would be paid to the heirs of the missing persons.
During the proceedings, Chairperson Defence for Human Rights Amna Masood Janjua complained against the Inquiry Commission, which has been formed to probe the cases.
Amna said the heirs of the missing persons, who belonged to Balochistan, had already expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the Commission, therefore, they had boycotted its proceedings. She also informed that according to the Commission’s statement eight more disappeared persons were reported as dead. She requested the court to order the inquiry regarding their deaths.
Responding to her complaint against the Commission, Standing Counsel Raja Muhammad Yaseen said that Inquiry Commission’s head Justice (R) Javed Iqbal was also leading the Abbottabad Commission, therefore, there was some delay in the proceeding of missing persons’ cases. He assured the Commission would complete hearing of all disappeared cases by March.
The learned counsel stated that out of 445 cases, 273 matters of missing persons were pending. Upon this, Justice Jawwad remarked that the Commission should accelerate its proceedings and a timetable should be announced regarding the hearing of cases, so that the families of disappeared persons would be aware of any progress made.
Raja Yaseen assured the bench that the schedule regarding chronic cases would be displayed soon.
Meanwhile, Amna Masood, submitting a copy of Action in Aid of Civil Power Ordinance 2011, said security forces had constructed internment centres through that ordinance.
She said most of the disappeared persons were detained in these Internment Centers.
She further mentioned that a report had already been submitted to the Peshawar High Court regarding missing persons, therefore, the court should ask for that report.
Upon this, the court directed the Deputy Attorney General of Pakistan to submit that report, beside that a copy of the report should also be given to Amna Masood.
Amna also stated that she had some secret information regarding the detention of her husband,therefore, she wanted to share with the bench in the chamber but the court asked her to submit the secret information in written.
Tariq Khursheed, counsel for Pakistan Baitul Maal, informed the court that department could pay Rs 60,000 as compensation to each heir of the disappeared persons.
The court asked him to furnish the rules and regulations regarding the compensation to the missing persons families but he could not present any information before the bench and requested for some time.
The court expressing annoyance over the different departments for not taking the matter of missing persons seriously stated that they should be aware about the hardships of the families of missing persons.
The court directed the Ministry of Human Rights and Pakistan Baitul Maal to submit the rules and regulation for the payment of compensation to the heirs of missing persons.
Earlier, Attorney General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq submitted Inquiry Commission’s report regarding the progress in missing persons’ cases but the court ordered the Commission to submit comprehensive report about the matter and adjourned the hearing for indefinite period.