THE painful story of the yet undetermined number of Pakistani citizens, who went missing during the Musharraf regime, refuses to come to an end, despite several orders of the Supreme Court to trace them. The civil society, the humanitarian-minded people, the media and the friends and relatives of these unfortunate persons have been forcefully presenting their case, bringing out the blatant violations of the law and Constitution that the government had committed in abducting them. The Commission of Inquiry, constituted to recover them, reported last August that 49 persons had been recovered and a clue to 21 others found. At the same time, the Commission pointed out that during three months, 88 persons were forcibly picked up. The total number of missing persons remains a mystery: the Commission talks of 200, the Federal Minister for Human Rights Syed Mumtaz Gilani maintains that the figure is around 900, while in Balochistan the general impression puts the number in thousands. At a hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court took up a case of somewhat different nature in that while generally the so-called suspects had been picked up either from their homes or while outside, leaving their kith and kin totally in the dark about their fate, this case related to those 11 persons who were taken away when they were in jail. Allegedly, these inmates were handed over by the jail authorities to the intelligence agencies although they had been acquitted for lack of evidence in five different cases of terrorist attacks. It is difficult to imagine that in a civilised society the suspects, who were arrested, later tried in a court of law and pronounced not guilty, were again taken into custody by the intelligence agencies, without giving any information about their whereabouts, leaving their families to worry whether they were dead or alive and, if alive, in what condition. The Court gave November 10 as the deadline for their recovery. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday rightly inquired as to who were behind these disappearances, adding also the demand for knowing which authority was behind their wrongful picking up. He remarked that the I. G. Prisons must be sent to jail for not giving due protection to these people. The manner in which military dictator Musharraf tried to curry favour with the US by following its commands in taking Pakistanis into custody in pursuit of its aims in the war on terror to get dollars, as he himself confessed, is a most shameful human rights abuse. It is now incumbent upon the present government to free these wronged persons, hold an inquiry to know the rationale of their arrests, and punish the guilty, howsoever high in status.