KARACHI-The Sindh High Court was informed on Thursday that in compliance with its earlier order compensation had been paid to 10 out of 12 families of missing persons who had been declared enforced disappearances. The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha directed the police to use best efforts to trace out the missing persons and file progress report about each of the missing persons on next hearing.

It also ordered the authorities concerned to pay compensation to the remaining two families and asked an assistant commissioner to appear before the court on Jan 18 with a compliance report in this regard.

On last hearing, the bench had expressed serious resentment over provincial authorities for a delay in compensating the families of missing persons and observed that prima facie the matter had simply been held up on account of bureaucratic laxity and warned that an appropriate order would be passed if the process was not speeded up.

At the outset of hearing on Thursday, an assistant commissioner filed a compliance report on behalf of Karachi commissioner which stated that 10 compensation cheques amounting Rs500,000 each, provided by the home department, had been handed over to the families/beneficiaries of 10 missing persons after completion of all codal formalities. However, it said that two compensation cheques were again received from home department to commissioner office with a query that such cheques cannot be issued against joint accounts to the beneficiary. Thus, the families of two remaining missing persons had been requested to open their single accounts, it added.

Last year, the SHC had put the secretary of the provincial social welfare department, director Baitul Mal, human development secretary and others on notice with direction to apprise it as to how the families of missing persons could be provided with financial assistance and also asked the federal and provincial law officers to assist the court in such cases where the family heads had gone missing and families were suffering due to financial crises.

In April, a provincial law officer had informed the SHC that a summary had been sent to the chief minister for sanctioning one-time compensation of Rs500,000 for each family of 12 missing persons whose cases fell within the category of enforced disappearance.