ISLAMABAD   -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday directed the deputy attorney general to arrange a meeting of Baloch students of Quaid-i-Azam University with President Dr Arif Alvi for redressal of their grievance.  A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions while hearing a petition seeking recovery of a missing person Hafeez Baloch a student of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

The IHC bench directed the Secretary to President to submit a report in this regard on the next hearing while it also directed Secretary Interior to hold meeting with the students belonging to the province of Baluchistan in the context of racial profiling and harassment and ensure their safety and security.

Zainab Janjua Advocate the counsel for Baloch students told the court that students are afraid of and could not go back to their homes due to apprehension of abduction. Pointing toward the disappearance of QAU student Hafeez Baloch, Justice Athar asked from the deputy attorney general Syed Tayyab Shah that why students go missing. The bench directed the state institutions to eliminate the fear of harassment and abduction of Baloch students in their province. It added that there is no justification for the experiences facing the Baloch students.

Justice Athar remarked that whatever the current situation may be, it does not matter. He added that Baloch students are the favourite students of this court. The IHC Chief Justice urged that relevant authorities must do more to remove the reservations of Baloch students.  Then, the IHC bench directed the secretary to the president to submit a report to the court on the next hearing and directed the deputy attorney general to arrange a meeting of Baloch students with President Arif Alvi.

 The DAG informed the court that the President has met the secretary interior regarding the students, and requested the court to grant more time to meet the students in light of the current political situation.  Justice Athar said that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government, but the government does not meet them. He added that this court expected the President of Pakistan to ensure the safety of children.

The court also stated that the President had previously directed all the universities of Islamabad to refrain from racial profiling of children. The lawyer for Quaid-i-Azam University informed the court that a committee has been formed and is looking into the matter. Later, the bench deferred the hearing in this matter till April 15 for further proceedings.    On the last hearing, the court was informed that students had met the Minister for Interior and a report was also submitted before the bench. However, the counsels for the petitioners asserted that the meeting was not fruitful because the Minister for Interior informed them that he may not be holding his office by next week.

The IHC bench observed, “Such a response was definitely not expected from a chosen representative holding one of the most important public offices. The Federal Government has, regrettably, ignored the serious grievances of the students and the Minister for Interior was expected not only to hear the students but take prompt action in order to ensure that there is no harassment or feeling of racial profiling in future.”  The IHC Chief Justice noted that the grievances of the petitioners are grave in nature and the Chancellor of the Quaid-i-Azam University i.e. the worthy President of Pakistan is, therefore, expected to ensure that the grave grievances of the students belonging to Baluchistan, particularly in the context of racial profiling and harassment are probed.

 “The Vice Chancellor of the Quaid-i-Azam University is also directed to submit a report, inter alia, explaining why students of Baluchistan feel that they have been subjected to racial profiling. The Court expects that a report on behalf of the Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University i.e. the worthy President of Pakistan will be submitted before the date fixed,” said Justice Athar.

He also directed the Minister for Interior to probe into the grievances submitted by the students belonging to the province of Baluchistan and submit a report, inter alia, highlighting the actions taken to dispel the perception of racial profiling.