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News: Millions of Rupees in Fines Imposed on Top Government Officials in Missing Persons Cases

Millions of Rupees in Fines Imposed on Top Government Officials in Missing Persons Cases

Voice of America Urdu

January 06, 2021

Asim Ali Rana

(Translation from Urdu)

Islamabad –

“It’s been eight years, moving from one court to the next court and then the next, but no one has been able to bring my husband back. My son was two years old when my husband was abducted. He has yet to see his father properly.”

These are the words of Advocate Sadia Rahat, wife of Naveed Butt, who went missing from Lahore. Sadia’s husband, Naveed Butt, who was a spokesman for Hizb ut Tahrir, was abducted in 2012, by unidentified individuals outside his home.

Sadia Rahat says that, “Since that day we have been going from one court to another, but so far without any judicial relief. The missing persons’ commission issued a production order to law enforcement, but my husband was not produced.”

“They said that all the intelligence agencies deny holding my husband, but I’m sure he’s with them,” she added.

In recent days, the Islamabad High Court has imposed fines of millions rupees on top government officials in cases of missing persons.

A court has imposed a fine of Rs 10 million on the police, the Home Secretary and the Defense Secretary in the case of Ghulam Qadir, who is missing from Islamabad for six years.

In this regard, the federal government has filed an appeal for review in the High Court, the first hearing of which took place yesterday, in which the court said that the fine is in place, but the fact is that if a person disappears, what will be done about that. Justice Athar Minallah said that the court imposes damages because the state fails to find the person.

Deputy Attorney-General, Islamabad, Syed Tayyab Shah, said in this regard that such cases could not be discussed much, as appeals in these cases are pending in the court. He said that the state has the right to file an appeal, if it is not satisfied with a court decision.

Strict orders have been issued by the courts in Pakistan in recent times over non-recovery of missing persons. This is not the first case in which a fine of Rs 10 million has been imposed. Government officials have been fined by the court in three separate cases previously.

One such case is that of IT engineer Sajid Mehmood. His wife Mahira Sajid filed a petition in the court for household expenses, upon which the court awarded 4.5 million for the disappearnace of Sajid Mehmood until now as well as one hundred and five thousand rupees monthly.

In this case, Mahra Sajid’s lawyer Omar Gilani said that, “The state is responsible for the safety of any person. If that person is missing, then his recovery is also the responsibility of the state. In this case too we have talked about the same point and the court has issued a final verdict with regards to it, which the government has also accepted. Its implementation remains to be seen. Hopefully the government will make this payment soon.”

In this regards, the President of Pakistan Bar Council Abid Saqi said that under the constitution and in law, the freedom of every person, as well as their protection, is the responsibility of the state. The courts are the guardians of this constitution and the decision of the Islamabad High Court is an expression of anger over the non-implementation of orders by the courts in this regard.

Abid Saqi said that in missing person cases, clear orders are given by the courts, but they are not implemented. The courts of Pakistan are responsible for the freedom and security of every person and they are doing their duty.

Sadia Rahat says she has been in deep trouble, since her husband was abducted. They have three sons and a daughter, and the children are still grieving the loss of their father.

Saadia said that in her petition pending in the Islamabad High Court, she has also demanded compensation from the government as her husband’s disappearance has caused her severe financial difficulties.

According to the missing persons’ commission in Pakistan, the number of missing persons is still more than two and a half thousand. Although strict orders have been issued by the courts in this regard, many people are still missing, with state institutions being held responsible. However, state institutions and the government have always denied the allegations.