CJ IHC: ‘Shouldn’t High Treason apply to Chief Executives in Missing Person cases?’

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court, Justice Athar Minallah has questioned whether Article 6 (High Treason) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan should apply to the Chief Executives of the country in the matter pertaining to missing persons.

Justice Minallah made these remarks during the proceedings of the missing journalist, Mudassar Naaru’s case.

Earlier, on the orders of the Islamabad High Court, Prime Minister Imran Khan along with Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari had met Mudassar Naaru’s parents and young son Sachal, assuring them of support for finding the outspoken journalist who disappeared in August 2018.

Justice Minallah held that former chief executives boast about missing persons whilst writing their books after retirement. “Let’s build a hall of shame which features the pictures of all chief executives. Why shouldn’t we apply Article 6 (High Treason) on all Chief Executives?”

The Attorney General of Pakistan, Khalid Javed apprised the honourable court that Prime Minister Imran Khan was embarrassed whilst meeting Mudassar Naaru’s family and that Naaru had not done anything to warrant his disappearance.

According to Justice Minaullah, continuous disappearances of the citizens of Pakistan could not happen without the consent of the Chief Executive of the country. “This impunity has to end and heads have to roll, this is a subversion of the constitution, you don’t need new laws, even a terrorist cannot be killed extra judicially,” he remarked.

Justice Minallah held that the phenomenon of Pakistani citizens going missing had become so rampant that any government department could abduct any citizen, in violation of Article 14 of the constitution.

The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court questioned how someone could be picked up from Islamabad if local administration was not involved.

As witnessed in journalist Matiullah Jan’s abduction outside his wife’s workplace last year, a police car and uniformed personnel were present and were recorded in CCTV cameras, however, the suspects in the crime have still not been identified.

Justice Minaullah also shed light on the restrictions of the media, stating that if the media was free every newspaper and channel would have pictures of missing persons on their front pages.

In an exclusive conversation with The Pakistan Daily, Imaan Mazari-Hazir, who legally represents Mudassar Naaru’s family said: “Important admissions were made by the learned Attorney General before the Honourable High Court today which have vindicated the position of families of missing persons.”

Hazir said that she is hopeful that a strong judgment will come from the Honourable Court and that she is fully prepared to assist the Court on which institutions and individuals are to be held accountable for enforced disappearances.

The next proceedings for the case will be held on January 18, 2022.

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