We are living in strange times when contempt of court becomes a grave issue than contempt shown to human liberty as people get confined illegally and unconstitutionally. The human rights situation in the country is below par as the number of applications filed by the relatives of the mission persons at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry shows.
What is alarming is the fact that the issue of missing persons is prevalent across the country. What is depressing is the fact that relatives of most of the abducted people are pointing fingers at law enforcement and secret agencies. Heart-breaking are the remarks of Mian Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) that he passed when the people unable to control their emotions failed to maintain the dignity of the court.
The esteemed CJP has already issued orders for setting up of a special cell on missing persons. However one is bound to question the efficiency and efficacy of a new investigative body to probe into the cases of missing persons when there is already a commission established for the same purpose. Will it not be beneficial if the already established Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances is made more independent? At the moment, the commission’s performance is anything but satisfactory.
Being the highest authority on dispensing justice, it is natural if people turn to the CJP and keep their hopes up to see their dear ones released from the shackles of illegal detentions. The images of him chiding the woman who was unable to curtail her anger over the illegal abduction of her relative will send out the wrong impression. Instead of reprimanding her for contempt of court, the august CJP needs to comprehend the gravity of the issue at hand. People are in pain. They cannot be at ease when their loved ones spend their days in gallows.
Nonetheless, the estimable CJP indeed lectured and criticised the law enforcement agencies. But what purpose will it serve if he does not believe that these agencies are involved in the illegal detention of individuals? It would have been right if he had summoned the heads of these agencies and grilled them over the subject like he questions heads of all other organisations. When he has enough powers to change a seemingly change the whole tax code, it is difficult to comprehend that his hands are not free to summon the heads of these organisations – especially since they have not being complying with the court’s summons and submitting reports.
Furthermore, CJP’s comment that he does not believe in any role of law enforcement agencies in forceful abductions goes against the notion of justice. Instead of personal beliefs and not looking at the case objectively has already made some people skeptical if the CJP will ever succeed in improving the heavily compromised situation of human rights in the country.