In a notification issued by the government on Wednesday, it was revealed that Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif was given additional charge of the Defence Ministry, while Minister for Information Pervez Rashid was handed the additional charge as Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights. The Cabinet Division states that the shift of portfolios to Mr Asif and Mr Rashid was assigned by Prime Minister himself. The allotment of power to two new faces by the Premier brings our attention to the case of missing people in Pakistan. Unrelenting in its demand to protect citizens, the Supreme Court stated that the Defence Minister would have to appear in court if he fails to produce the missing people according to the list ordained by the Chief Justice.
It is obvious that the federal government has failed to achieve tangible progress in locating and repatriating Pakistanis displaced by force. Despite frequent reprimanding by the Supreme Court, the Defence Ministry has shown little to no action in furthering the cause of missing people and their families. The issue accrues even more attention as the long march initiated by Baloch families goes on; dozens of Baloch citizens have walked on foot from the troubled province, down to Karachi to demand justice.
With the appointment of Khawaja Asif and Pervez Rashid as additional charges of the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, the PM relegates the responsibility to two new individuals. Sadly, it indicates the damning possibility that once Khawaja Asif appears in the Supreme Court, the predictable will occur: yet another request for more time to produce the missing people in court. Furthermore, this tactic may even be stretched till the Chief Justice’s term exhausts. It is hoped that, however, with the appointment of two new portfolios the case for bringing missing people back to their homes will be sincerely worked upon, and not merely face a new and indefinite delay.