KARACHI   -   The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director to appear in person on January 17 on a petition seeking safe recovery of missing children.

A division bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto conducted the hearing on a petition filed by an NGO. The bench expressed its displeasure over the absence of the FIA director.

At the last hearing, the court had summoned the FIA official with the relevant documents regarding efforts made for the recovery of the missing children.

During the hearing, Crime Branch DIG Arif Hanif, who is heading a committee formed by the Sindh Police inspector general to make efforts for recovery of 20 missing children, appeared before the bench and submitted a report on the steps taken to trace whereabouts of the missing children. The police official also produced a child, named Sarghal, in the court and stated that the child was recovered from Chippa shelter home after several months.

The court observed that the child suffered a lot as he was kept at the shelter home due to negligence of the investigation police at Garden Police Station.

The police failed to satisfy the bench about their efforts to recover the children. The bench expressed its dissatisfaction with the police performance and directed the official to accelerate the efforts to recover the other children.

“On the court’s directive, the inspector general of Sindh Police had formed a special team to recover the missing children,” said the Crime Branch director general. He said the court had also ordered the FIA to work with the police in this connection.

The court directed the DIG to appear at every hearing to inform the court about progress on such cases.

The court expressed dissatisfaction with the alleged negligence and delaying tactics by the law enforcers and directed the FIA director to appear in person with the progress report at the next hearing.

The court observed that response from the FIA about provision of information about human trafficking was awaited despite a reminder. The court summoned the FIA official when the question about possible use of children in human trafficking came up for discussion.

The court directed the provincial police chief to look into the matter personally and ordered the police authorities to arrest the culprits involved in sexual harassment of the children.

Earlier, the court had ordered the special committee of police to use modern devices for the purpose and show progress. The order was passed after the DIG had informed the bench about the recovery of a girl.

At a previous hearing, the court was informed by the police that as many as 23 FIRs were registered about the missing children in different police stations -- Awami Colony, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Ferozabad, Saudabad, Docks, Preedy, Boat Basin, Quaidabad, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, New Karachi Industrial Area and Korangi police stations.

A petition was filed by Roshni Research and Development Welfare in 2012 seeking safe recovery of the missing children, who went missing in different parts of Karachi.

The NGO alleged that cases of missing children were not properly investigated by the police which resulted in many preventable deaths.