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Mudassar Naru case: Missing person's son marks 4th birthday at court appearance

14 Feb, 2022
The young boy cut his birthday cake along his grandparents and lawyer Imaan Mazari outside court room. Asif Naveed
The young boy cut his birthday cake along his grandparents and lawyer Imaan Mazari outside court room. Asif Naveed

Sachal, son of missing person Mudassar Naru, turned four on Monday, as he, along with his grandparents, appeared before the Islamabad High Court in a case related to recovery of missing bloggers and journalists.

He cut his birthday cake along side his grandparents and lawyer Imaan Mazari outside court room number 1 of the IHC soon after appearing in the case of his missing father.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing the case, ordered Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances to submit a report before the next hearing and asked Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan to appear before the court on the next hearing.

Justice Minallah inquired who appeared in the court on behalf of the commission which was conducting inquiry on enforced disappearances. In the last hearing, the court had granted time to the body for effective investigation in the missing persons case and directed it to present final arguments.

In the last hearing Justice Minallah had said that persons involved in enforced disappearances could not do it on their own without the consent of the federal government.

The attorney general was also supposed to present his arguments today, said Justice Minallah.

During the Monday's hearing, additional attorney general told the court that no one appeared on behalf of the commission, adding the body conducting inquiries for enforced disappearances was constituted as a result of an order issued in 2010 and its terms of references (TORs) were issued in 2013.

While ordering the submission of TORs of the commission, the court inquired number of missing persons across the country and the development related to their recovery.

At this the additional attorney general said out of 8,000 cases of the missing persons 6,000 had been resolved. Few of the missing people returned, some were in prisons and others were in detention centres, he added.

Justice Minallah said it proved the policy of abduction existed as missing persons were found in detention centres and inquired whether a law exists to abduct citizens.

He remarked that action should be taken against "those people".

The chief justice also inquired about development in cases of missing persons reported last year and asked the submission of a report of the commission be made under Justice Kamal Mansoor Alam in 2010.

Stressing on the state's role to protect lives of citizens, the court asked who would investigate cases of missing persons when there was doubt of state's involvement in it.

He also inquired who was responsible for the incidents of missing persons and remarked it should be identified.

Advocate Inamur Raheem told the court about a report in which bodies of 221 missing persons were handed over to their families, saying the commission was responsible for investigating the cases, adding how it would hand over the bodies of them.

The additional attorney general told the court that a summary related to the issue had been moved for the cabinet meeting which was due tomorrow in the light of Mahira Sajid case.

At this Justice Minallah said the court will issue verdict in missing persons case. The court then directed Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan to appear before the court and present the arguments.

Later, hearing of the case was adjourned till February 28.

Naru went missing in August 2018 while he was in Kaghan valley on vacation. He was last spotted near the Kaghan river, and many believe he may have fallen and drowned in the river. However, his body was never found. There was also speculation that he might have taken his own life - a claim rejected by his family.

According to Dawn.com, Naru’s family tried to register a first information report against “unidentified persons,” but the police refused to cooperate. A few months later, the journalist was spotted at a detention centre for ‘missing persons’ by one of his friends.