The Islamabad High Court warned the federal government that the prime minister and interior minister could be sent home if missing persons are not recovered.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani resumed hearing in the case against missing Baloch students on Wednesday, with caretaker Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti appearing in person.
Attorney General Mansoor Awan told the court that caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar could not appear on account of being outside the country for an official visit.
The attorney general told the court that a total of 69 Baloch students had been missing of whom 22 more had been recovered since the last hearing.
He said that 28 students are still missing and the government will try to recover all of them.
Awan also said that a cabinet committee has been set up where the commission on missing person reports will be submitted.
However, Justice Kayani remarked that it seemed that there was no law in Pakistan.
The judge remarked that he was clearly putting across what was in his mind and told the interior minister that he and the PM could file cases and ultimately go home if the missing persons were not recovered.
He also remarked that missing persons’ families will stay traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Bugti told the court that he would invite the missing persons’ families over for lunch and hear their concerns individually. The judge remarked that the meeting should take place within one week.
Justice Kayani asked the minister if he would ask the intelligence agencies how the students had gone missing.
The minister said that the government was trying to recover those who were missing or had forcibly disappeared, but many were absconders and some had even fled to Afghanistan.
He added that the government tries to view each person on a case-to-case basis. However, the judge asked him if we would entrust the task to the same agencies that had accusations of enforced disappearances against them.
The hearing was then adjourned till January 10.
In the previous hearing on November 22, the IHC had summoned the PM and interior minister to appear in person.
The court had also rejected the report of the committee of ministers formed for the recovery of missing persons.