ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Thursday issued contempt of court notice to Balochistan Frontier Constabulary Inspector General (FC IG) Major General Ijaz Shahid for repeatedly ignoring orders to appear before the apex court in missing persons’ case. The federal interior secretary was directed to serve the court notice to the obstinate officer.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-member bench, said: “We are compelled to issue notice to FC IG.” Maj-Gen Ijaz thrice defied the court orders and did not appear before the court in Balochistan missing persons’ case.

In the last hearing (December 3), FC representative Major Hafiz Muhammad Nadeem submitted a confidential letter regarding non-appearance of FC IG. He had told the court that appearance of the major general would demoralise the security forces fighting a war against miscreants and terrorists in the province.

Expressing annoyance, the court again directed Ijaz to appear before the court on Dec 5. But on Thursday again, he did not appear, and the court was informed that the officer is admitted in Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology as he had a heart attack.

However, sources from FC say that the IG since his taking charge of the current post had appeared twice in the apex court in the same case, which negates the impression of any mindset in the FC of not appearing in the court.

During Thursday’s proceeding, Irfan Qadir, appeared on behalf of Maj-Gen Ijaz and wanted to submit a document. The chief justice did not accept the document and said: “We will not give you right of audience, unless the FC IG himself appears before the court... He has to comply with the court order in letter and spirit.”

The court also observed that despite its order, no missing person was recovered by the Balochistan police and FC. The court said that Shahid Hamid, who represented the government of Balochistan in the case regarding the law and order situation, had submitted a report assuring the court of early recovery of the missing persons in Balochistan. It was also agreed in the report that the officers of FC allegedly involved in the enforced disappearance will have to appear before the CID. Balochistan CID DIG Ishtiaq Hussain wrote several letters to the police and FC but they did not appear before him. In view of these circumstances the IG FC was directed to appear before the Supreme Court.

The court observed it seemed that the IG FC is reluctant to appear before the apex court because he has no reasonable explanation about the enforced disappearances in which FC is allegedly involved. Therefore, the court issued him notice under Article 204 of the Constitution read with Section 17(3) of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003. The FC IG was directed to appear in the preliminary hearing on contempt notice, otherwise contempt charges would be framed against him. The attorney general was issued notice to inform about missing persons in the next date of hearing.

Agencies add: A private news channel quoting an FC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported that the FC IG suffered a heart attack on Nov 29 and since then he has been admitted to Combined Medical Hospital, Rawalpindi.

The officer insisted that the court orders could not be communicated to the FC chief since he and his family are disturbed owing to his illness.