ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Sunday directed the federal government to issue notices to Gen (Retd) Pervaiz Musharraf and all other successor chief executives i.e the former prime ministers, including the incumbent holder of the office in the matter of enforced disappearances.
In a written order issued by the IHC single bench in identical petitions seeking recovery of a missing person Mudassar Naro and others, Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah also said that they shall submit affidavits explaining why the court may not order proceedings against them for alleged subversion of the Constitution in the context of the undeclared tacit approval of the policy regarding enforced disappearances
The court also gave a last and final opportunity to the Attorney General to argue the petitions. In the meanwhile, it directed the federal government to produce the missing persons before the court on the date fixed or justify the failure of the state to effectively investigate and trace their whereabouts.
It ordered, “The federal government shall issue and serve notices on Gen (Retd) Pervaiz Musharraf and all other successor chief executives i.e the former prime ministers, including the incumbent holder of the office. They shall submit their respective affidavits explaining why the court may not order proceedings against them for alleged subversion of the Constitution in the context of the undeclared tacit approval of the policy regarding enforced disappearances and thus putting national security at risk by allowing the involvement of law enforcing agencies, particularly the Armed Forces.”
“The onus is on each chief executive to rebut the presumption and to explain why they may not be tried for the offence of high treason,” added the IHC bench.
Justice Athar said that the federal government shall consider the proposals/recommendations submitted by Ms Amina Masood Janjua, amicus curie appointed by the Court and furnish a report before the date fixed.
He further said that in case the missing persons are not recovered nor effective and demonstrable actions/decisions are taken by the federal government then the current and former ministers of interior shall appear in person to explain why the petitions may not be decided and exemplary costs imposed upon them for the unimaginable agony and pain suffered by the petitioners on account of lack of response and empathy while dealing with their grievances.
“The learned Attorney General shall satisfy the court that in case of alleged disappearances in future why criminal cases may not be ordered to be registered against the Chief Executives of the Federation and the concerned Provinces,” said the IHC Chief Justice.
He directed the federal government to take appropriate measures so as to enable the family members of the missing persons to inform the public regarding their grievances and it shall also be ensured that there is no undeclared censorship observed by the print and electronic media.