Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif assured the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday, September 9, that all-out efforts will be made to recover missing persons.

“I cannot say that all of the missing persons will be recovered, but we will leave no stone unturned,” he assured the court “I will not give any lame excuse,” said the premier to the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Justice Minallah during the last hearing had instructing PM Shehbaz to ensure that missing persons — whose cases were being heard in the court, had to be produced before IHC on September 9 (today) and warned that the failure to do so would require the premier to appear in person on the said date and give an explanation.


Justice Minallah stressed that the state’s responsibility should be fulfilled, regretting that in cases where missing persons were recovered, no further action was taken.

Political leadership has to solve this issue

“The political leadership has to solve this issue,” he said. “The court has no other way but to only ask the executive [about the issue].”

Justice Minallah also stressed on the fact that no impression must be created that implies that law enforcement agencies were picking up citizens. The CJ reminded Sharif that national security was his responsibility.

“This impression affects our national security,” he added. Addressing PM Shehbaz, he continued, “This court trusts you. Give [us] a solution for this [issue].”

He asked who the court should hold responsible for enforced disappearances.

PM Shehbaz replied that solving the issue was his duty.

“Court will hold the chief executive responsible,” Athar Minallah warned, stressing that “people going missing is intolerable.”

He said no entity was above the Constitution in the country, adding that this court would ensure civil supremacy, as well as the supremacy of the Constitution.

Making people go missing biggest form of torture

Justice Minallah then termed the practice of “making people go missing the biggest form of torture” and a “deviation from the Constitution”.

“This court is a constitutional court … This court will look at the Constitution. There is no bigger issue than this,” he further remarked.

He asked PM Shehbaz what the court should tell a small child approaching it for justice. “He also met the erstwhile prime minister,” Justice Minallah said, apparently making a reference to missing journalist Mudassar Naru’s son meeting former prime minister Imran Khan in December last year.

PM Shehbaz told the court that a child of a missing person asked him to reunite him with his father. “His sentence is very disturbing for me,” he said.

Saying that he was answerable to the courts and the people of the country, he added, “I am not here to play blame games.”

Require two months to resolve the issue

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar then asked the court if he could speak about a few matters.

In response, the IHC CJ said that he does not want to hear that the government has formed a committee and is probing the case. “I am telling you, no missing persons case should be filed again in this court,” he told the government in no uncertain terms.

The law minister said that the government was holding meetings in this regard every week and that it required two months to resolve this issue and not a week.

The court accepted the law minister’s plea to resolve the case within two months, adjourning the case till November 14.