ISLAMABAD - The security establishment does not appear to be in a mood to hand over the missing persons to the government despite the Supreme Court’s orders that has bound the federal government to recover the missing persons and submit a related report in the apex court by the coming Tuesday.
“There has been complete silence,” a military source, a brigadier by rank, informed The Nation Friday.
The military’s top bosses including the spymasters had held an unscheduled meeting at the General Headquarters (GHQ) earlier on Tuesday shortly after the Supreme Court had issued its judgment on the missing persons, the brigadier said.
Following this development, the official said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had issued a statement the same evening indicating that it would file a review petition. “It’s all about buying more time,” the source commented.
Colonel (r) Inam-ur-Rahim, a noted lawyer and an expert on military laws, also believes the military establishment’s strategy is to keep the matter lingering. “I think they would like to delay the things till the dust is settled and the matter is swept under the carpet.”
Rahim dismissed the defence ministry’s stance that it ‘might’ file a review petition once the SC’s final judgment in missing persons case was issued. “This is an extremely lame excuse and a ridiculous argument.”
The former army officer said that when the deputy secretary MoD admitted before the court that seven missing persons were in the custody of the military agencies, it stood proved the military had picked these people. “The Supreme Court was right from the day one. Now that the military has accepted picking the missing persons, it has to come clean on the issue or else there would be legal consequences.”
He lambasted Secretary Defence Lieutenant General (r) Asif Yasin Malik for acting in a way which, Rahim believed, was an attempt to hoodwink the court. “We heard the secretary defence had a heart problem and he was hospitalised. But immediately after Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry got retired, the secretary started attending the court proceedings. It’s a deceptive demeanour on his part. I think the ex-general and his aides were all waiting for Justice Chaudhry to retire but they can’t rid themselves of the legal implications involving the SC’s missing persons judgment.”
Colonel (r) Inam-ur-Rahim said the SC judgment bounded the prime minister, the KPK chief minister and the governor to recover the missing persons and submit a reply in the apex court within seven days and if these orders are not complied with, he added the government functionaries would face the music. “Officially, the KPK governor is the head of detainment and internment centres in FATA. If the apex court’s orders are violated, he would be the first one to face contempt of court proceedings, apart from the PM and the CM.”
Chairing the maiden Corps Commanders conference held last week, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif had reportedly said the army would comply with the SC orders on missing persons and it did not want clash with any institution. But after the SC issued the related judgment, the military’s strategy apparently is to cite defence ministry’s statement on filing review petition as an explanation to get more time.