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Missing persons case: IHC orders PM, cabinet to listen to Mudassir Naru family's grievances

25 Nov, 2021
A writer, poet and journalist, Naru, disappeared on August 20, 2018 while he was on a vacation with his son and wife in Naran.
A writer, poet and journalist, Naru, disappeared on August 20, 2018 while he was on a vacation with his son and wife in Naran.

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday ordered Prime Minister Imran Khan and the federal cabinet to listen to the grievances of Mudassir Naru's family in recovery of missing journalists and bloggers case.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case and said the premier and cabinet should assure Naru's aggrieved family members that the state was not involved in the incident.

The writer, poet and journalist Naru disappeared on August 20, 2018 while on a vacation with his son and wife in Naran. He has not been seen since. His wife, Sadaf Chugtai, an artist and activist, died in May 2021 during her sleep, while their son who is barely four-year-old lives with his grandparent.

Justice Minallah asked the Deputy Attorney General Syed Tayyab Shah when the prime minister would listen to the family members of the missing journalist and told him to tell the court the exact date by Monday otherwise he's summon the Interior Secretary at the next hearing.

It is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure the safety of citizens, said the IHC chief justice, adding the country has a trend of "enforced disappearances".

He noted it was the responsibility of the state and federal government to satisfy families of the missing persons and ensure their recovery.

Lawyer Imaan Mazari and Usman Warraich represented Naru's family, while a representative of Ministry of Defence also appeared before the court.

The deputy attorney general insisted the facts of the case were different and he would present them before the court, if he's given time.

On this, Justice Minallah directed Shah to read a report issued by missing persons commission and noted we would not go towards the matter of enforced disapperances, if the fact did not exist. However, this was not the case, he added.

During the proceedings of the case, the court asked the exact date of the incident when Naru went missing and who the prime minister was at that time. The deputy AG replied the incident happened on August 20, 2018 and Khan took charge of the premiership on the same date.

In the government's defence, the deputy AG talked about DPO Mansehra's report and said the family were walking beside a track of River Kunhar.

Expressing anger over the briefing, Justice Minallah stopped Shah there and asked him not to give the reference of the DPO. The IHC chief justice added the grieved family was not satisfied and it was the responsibility of the prime minister and federal cabinet to satisfy them.

The case of Maira Sajid was also read before the court and the chief justice said according to the commission report family of the missing person was of the opinion that state and its agencies were involved in these acts.

The court adjourned hearing of the case till November 29.

Earlier this month PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz expressed her solidarity with Naru's family saying she hoped the child would be reunited with his father.